Friday, June 13, 2008

Crime, Horror, and Gore – The Comic Book Controversy

By: Liz Monte (Little_personView Profile)

Before the rise of the television, comic books were one of the most widespread forms of entertainment. Between 1945 and 1954, distribution and readership soared; in particular, the horror, crime, violence, and sadism genres became widely popular. While the fantastical stories pleased young readers (who could purchase them for ten cents), they worried parents, politicians, and doctors, who felt that exposure to these gory topics was a cause of juvenile delinquency.

One of the most outspoken critics was the psychiatrist Frederic Wertham, who attacked comics in the book Seduction of the Innocent. Based on his work (and public opposition), in the early 1950s, the Senate Subcommittee on Juvenile Delinquency accused the comic book industry of negatively influencing youth. The industry was forced to change; horror, terror, and violent comics were shelved.

But were the books really that bad? You can judge for yourself by checking out some of the more gruesome covers, which offer some insight as to the contents within.

Entertaining Comics (previously known as Educational Comics) was a leader in the horror and crime field, and was well regarded for its artistic skill and creativity. After the ban on horror comic books, EC went on to publish the hugely popular MAD magazine.

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Violence against women was a common theme in the crime and horror genres …

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… as was the severed woman’s head.

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Methinks a married man wrote this one.

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But the violent and macabre wasn’t limited to women.

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Comics—like this 1952 Harvey Comics series—sometimes dealt with real issues, such as teenage drug addiction. Dope fiends sure look different than they used to.

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Original here

The 20 Hottest Possible Threesomes In TV History

John Mayer has been spending a lot of time with Jennifer Aniston and Courtney Cox these days, and that got us to thinking (we’re very divergent thinkers) — if you could participate in a ménage à trois with two characters from any show in tv history, who would you pick?

Here’s our list of twenty tv threesome options, ranked by a combination of the pair’s overall hotness and their cultural notoriety, each out of a possible ten points. We’re very scientific when it comes to banging the Golden Girls.


20. Mary Ann and Ginger (Gilligan’s Island)

Hotness: 5. Or Gilligan & The Skipper… laaaadies??

Notoriety: 5. A bit on the selfish side, given that there’s only three women on the island and one of them is in her sixties (but loaded).

Overall: 10. If they remade this show nowadays, this would definitely be the pilot episode. And all subsequent episodes.


19. Izzie & Gray (Grey’s Anatomy)

Hotness: 5.5. You would have to pay attention to Ellen Pompeo at some point, though.

Notoriety: 6. Might be fun, until a patient dies on the floor next to the surgical table you’re using as a bed.

Overall: 11.5. Just don’t get too attached, or your aftermath may begin to resemble a joyless romantic comedy.

The Hills

18. Audrina and Whitney (The Hills)

Hotness: 7.5. Just as hot as LC and Heidi, but we haven’t seen them enough to confirm that they’re completely devoid of humanity.

Notoriety: 5. Although, in Audrina’s case, the mystery’s sort of gone.

Overall: 12.5. The MTV reality-stars might be a bit out of their element without nine jump cuts a second and a bunch of songs that make college students feel old.

Next Generation

17. Dr. Crusher & Counselor Troi (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Hotness: 5. Both actually got better looking after the series ended, though I suppose everyone did after the early 90s ended.

Notoriety: 7.5. You’d have to keep arguing to older, narrow-minded nerds how much better this threesome is than the original.

Overall: 12.5. Would you really want to risk crossing two-take Frakes?

Baywatch cast

16. Pamela Anderson and Yasmine Bleeth (Baywatch)

Hotness: 7. Would’ve been a 10 in the 90s, but now we’ve seen this.

Notoriety: 6.5. Also would’ve been a 10 in the 90s, but “I had a threesome with them two chicks from Baywatch!” sounds like something an 80-year-old Robitussin addict will be telling diner patrons a decade from now.

Overall: 13.5. Two-point deduction for the you-know-what. Begins with H. Ends with ‘erpes.’ It’s ‘herpes.’ Which Pamela Anderson has. Pamela Anderson has herpes.

Scooby Doo

15. Daphne & Velma (Scooby Doo)

Hotness: 7. If movies have taught me anything, it’s that the nerdy girl instantly becomes hot when you remove her glasses. No exceptions.

Notoriety: 7. Even when I was five, I can’t imagine the thought of those two meddling kids together didn’t cross my mind at some point. Then I thought about chicken fingers.

Overall: 14. Given the cramped quarters and nonstop secondhand pot hazes, it really doesn’t seem that implausible. Fred never stepped up to the plate.


14. Six and Starbuck (Battlestar Galactica)

Hotness: 8. Could you f*ck the spoilers out of them?

Notoriety: 6. Not quite a recognizable ‘duo’, but it would put you in exclusive company alongside Edward James Olmos.

Overall: 14. Your friends would keep reminding you not to tell the story around them because they’re still on Season Two.

90210 gals

13. Brenda and Kelly (90210)

Hotness: 6.5. We’re getting to the point where 90s heartthrobs are starting to look as ridiculous as all humans in the 80s.

Notoriety: 8. Like having sex with a high school wall poster, only not literally!

Overall: 14.5. Could you do it without imagining the theme song in your head the entire time?

Mary Tyler Moore

12. Mary and Rhoda (Mary Tyler Moore)

Hotness: 6. I’d definitely still consider this in 2008. What?

Notoriety: 8.5. You’d get your own spinoff…

Overall: 14.5. …And backhanded Lou compliments for the rest of your life.

Buffy and Willow

11. Buffy and Willow (Buffy the Vampire Slayer)

Hotness: 7.5. Jock + Nerd, Vampire Slayer + Witch, Usually Hot + Hot About Half the Time…

Notoriety: 7.5. You’d never have to buy a drink at a ComicCon again.

Overall: 15. Imminent accidental death is a known aphrodisiac.

GI Joe

10. Scarlett and Baroness (G.I. Joe)

Hotness: 8. Fulfills that really specific redhead-and-foreign-dominatrix-voice fantasy.

Notoriety: 7.5. Ahhh, hate f*cking…

Overall: 15.5. “Scarlett and Lady Jaye” would’ve made more logical sense, but, well, who are we kidding?

Lois and Lana

9. Lois Lane & Lana (Smallville)

Hotness: 9.5. Them Spin Doctors weren’t lyin’.

Notoriety: 6. Is it worth the likelihood of pissing off some jealous high-school supervillain? Probably, yeah.

Overall: 15.5. Although, there’s the inevitable feeling of inadequacy…


8. Rachel and Monica (Friends)

Hotness: 10. Who wouldn’t be honored to accept Brad Pitt’s sloppy seconds?

Notoriety: 6. David Arquette’s, on the other hand…

Overall: 16. Possibility of Phoebe singing a goofy guitar song within earshot of the bedroom would be a near-dealbreaking turnoff.


7. Joey and Jen (Dawson’s Creek)

Hotness: 9. Not to mention, the deep, meaningful pillow-talk.

Notoriety: 7.5. You could go back in time and own the sh*t out of 1999.

Overall: 16.5. Ah, to be young and free of full-on celebrity insanity…


6. Wilma and Betty (Flintstones)

Hotness: 7.5. Tens of thousands of years before the word MILF existed…

Notoriety: 9. You gotta figure, they’re probably a bit starved after years of marriage to those bumbling fools.

Overall: 16.5. Tales of your conquest would be engraved into cave walls for posterity to admire.

Golden Girls

5. Betty White and Bea Arthur (Golden Girls)

Hotness: 7. Three words: experience, experience, experience.

Notoriety: 10. Yup.

Overall: 17. Pretty sure we can all agree on this one.

Charlies Angels

4. Kelly and Jill (Charlie’s Angels)

Hotness: 9. In the 70s, a rendezvous with Farah Fawcett and Charlie’s radio would’ve been enough for lifetime bragging rights.

Notoriety: 8.5 Purists would insist it doesn’t count without Kate Jackson in the mix.

Overall: 17.5. Reality might not live up to Bosley’s masturbation fantasies.

Saved by the Bell

3. Kelly Kapowski and Jessie (Saved By The Bell)

Hotness: 8. Better make your move at the Snowball Dance this week or you’ll have to wait for the Spring Fling next week.

Notoriety: 10. Who hasn’t thought about it? Obviously Zach, Screech for sure, Lisa Turtle too…

Overall: 18. Pretty soon, Belding’s coming to you for advice.

Summer Marissa

2. Summer and Marissa (The OC)

Hotness: 10. Still.

Notoriety: 8.5. Tiny deduction because of the show’s short run and the fact that fourteen-year olds who were just as hot started showing up, which made everything uncomfortable.

Overall: 18.5. If you filmed it and sent it to Sundance, people probably would accept it as a legit indie pic.

Threes Company

1. Chrissy and Janet (Three’s Company)

Hotness: 9.5. Shoots to 11 if you adjust for inflation.

Notoriety: 10. I’m gonna go out on a limb and say that at least one of the producers at one point maybe possibly might have thought people would interpret this show’s dynamic a certain way.

Overall : 19.5. The name of the damn show was one syllable away from actually being the word “Threesome.”

Any more we missed, you sick, tv-watching bastards? Leave ‘em in the comments! Also, I only did straight-male, two chicks scenarios, so feel free to play around with combinations.

Original here

The Five Most Ridiculous International Music Acts

Eat your heart out, David Cook. Here are five international acts that the newly crowned American Idol simply can’t compete with.

By Daniel Murphy

As the economy slides into recession and the U.S.A.’s stranglehold on the title of “ruler of the known and unknown Universe and any potential free trade therebetween” slides from its grasp, Americans are left wondering: Are we good at anything anymore?

And the answer is no, not really. We’re spread so thin right now that it’s hard to dominate any one facet of modern life. Japan's cornered the market on perversion and technology, China's winning the population battle, and with the dissolution of Miramax, South America's emerging as the place for poignant independent films. Good news, though: We still have more Starbucks than the rest of the world combined. That counts for something.

We also have a nice sense of humor. Not about ourselves, mind you, but we've got making fun of other countries down to an I’m-rubber-you’re-glue science. Which is pretty good news, because when you see videos like this you’re just happy that even though we elect our idols with text message votes, we have laws against most of this stuff to prevent it from happening here.

Dutch Singer + Molestation

No need to understand what he’s singing about, because he’s speaking the universal language of child abuse. It’s like one of those public service announcements from the ’80s: “I was doing a lyrical Dutch comedy sketch with my uncle, but then it turned icky.” Obviously the laws in the Netherlands about these kinds of things are much different. Like, “It’s only illegal if it isn’t set to music.” Problem solved!

Germany + Lionel Richie

This video perfectly encapsulates all that is good and all that is evil about the Internet. Yes, you can dig up videos of Lionel Richie singing his greatest hits while sucking down helium for a few German laughs. But at the same time, this is exactly why no modern-day celebrities will ever do this kind of crazy shit. You think a huge star like R. Kelly is going to make a video of him peeing on an underage girl when he knows that it’s somehow going to find its way to the Internet? Never!

Japanese Band + Cats

You know, if you’ve been paying attention to the World Wide Web for the past couple of years, this video just isn’t surprising. It’s like, “Oh, another Japanese band of cats?” But then you catch a glimpse of the drummer and you understand why Japan is still the unequivocal champion of WTF cyber-content. I mean, a drumming cat is one thing, but HITLER THE DRUMMING CAT? Truly amazing.

Korean Drummer + Awesome

Speaking of drummers -- keep an eye on the drummer in this video. You can’t possibly have anything against this dude except being completely jealous that his life so much fucking better than yours. You could be wheelbarreling a supermodel offstage right while watching the Super Bowl and this guy would still be having more fun than you. Either that, or Korean acid really is that much better than American.

British Singer + Sheep

Psyche, meet your worst nightmare: Adrian Munsey, British...musician? Shepherd? Who the hell knows. But before you go making fun of the guy, consider two things: One, he does one hell of a sheep impersonation, and two, maybe, just maybe, we don’t get it because he’s more advanced than us. Because in a dream one night he saw that the future of musical instruments was farm animals. But the animals weren’t ready for it either, so he was forced to do it himself. OK, he’s probably schizophrenic.

Original here

RIAA doubles settlement cost for students fighting subpoenas

Challenging RIAA subpoenas can be costly, and not just because college kids have to dig deep into the sock drawer to pay lawyers of their own. Ars has learned that the RIAA's legal campaign against students is now built on escalating penalties; if you force the RIAA legal team into action, then end up settling, you could end up paying more than that initial $3,000. A lot more.

When college students are fingered by the RIAA's "pre-litigation letters," most schools pass the letters along and let students make their own decision about challenging the issue in court or settling for around $3,000. That's not cheap, but the RIAA has recently been making it far more expensive for students who try to fight. If a student doesn't respond to a pre-litigation letter and the RIAA has to go to court to get the name, the settlement fees goes up to about $4,000. And if a student decides to challenge the RIAA's subpoena or otherwise delay a trial, the price jumps dramatically to $7,000 or $8,000.

Of quashing and consequences

We spoke with a legal consultant for the RIAA who handles much of this litigation, and he explained that the music trade group has always seen legal challenges to its tactics. In the last year, though, RIAA lawyers have seen a serious uptick in the number of students who have attempted to quash subpoenas that would allow them to learn the students' identities. In some cases, this takes the form of filing a motion to quash, then waiting for the RIAA to file a counter-motion, then filling a motion to suppress the counter-motion, then waiting for the RIAA to respond, then... well, you get the idea.

When you're paying the RIAA's rates for legal help, this sort of thing costs serious money, and it leads to delay. Over the last six months, the RIAA has begun a concerted campaign to limit what it sees as frivolous litigation of this kind, as it says no defendant in the history of the RIAA enforcement campaign has successfully battled such a subpoena (although it should be pointed out that there are some motions to quash that are still pending).

In order to strike fear into the hearts of students everywhere, the RIAA has adopted a sort of anti-Wal-Mart model where it passes the costs on to you. In fact, the RIAA tells us that it is actually acting in everyone's best interests through this escalating costs approach. Because most students end up settling anyway, fighting the subpoenas generally just raises the amount of the fee they end up paying. It also costs them more in legal fees, it ties up the courts, and the whole process appears to bore RIAA lawyers to tears.

The legal consultant tells Ars that this has nothing to do with bullying people into staying silent and paying up. "We have no qualms with individuals exercising their rights to litigate real issues," he says. "[But] the issues being raised in these motions to quash are issues that have been resolved time and time again in the RIAA's favor."

Students sometimes think they can simply fight the subpoena and the case as hard as humanly possible, then simply drop it and settle down the line. The RIAA wants to get the word out, though: those choices have consequences that can be measured in beer money. Lots and lots of beer money.

Meet the scapegoats

We weren't surprised to find that the Electronic Frontier Foundation has a different perspective, but the gulf between the two sides is positively Grand Canyon-like in size. I spoke to EFF attorney Corynne McSherry, who argued that the copyright infringement claims at the basis of these lawsuits aren't always as strong as the RIAA would have people believe.

McSherry points to recent court decisions that cast doubt on the idea that simply making a file available is the same as actually distributing it to the public, and she points out that the MPAA has been wildly misguided in its own analysis of collegiate file-swapping. Given these issues and more recent questions about the limits of automated P2P enforcement, McSherry argues that it is "especially inappropriate and unfortunate" to punish people for trying to defend themselves in court. The "judicial process is important, and it's particularly important now when there seems to be real questions for the factual basis for these claims," she says.

And taking a bigger-picture look at the entire issue, McSherry says that there's "no reason to believe that any of this is stopping file-sharing or helping the RIAA or the artists that it represents to get paid."

Colleges are simply "scapegoated because they're easy targets," she says, pointing out that schools do far more to educate their network users about copyright, fair use, and file-swapping than any commercial ISPs in the US. The schools are easier to pursue than individuals because they are uniquely vulnerable to government pressure (in the form of grants and aid money), while at the same time they possess unique punishment powers that commercial ISPs lack.

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Bullet Points: The 9 Nerdiest Moments In Rap

Written by Lukas Kaiser

Rappers traffic in street cred and braggadocious boasts. But peel back the facade and you'll find a bunch of frickin' nerds. Anyone successful is a nerd, after all. Most of the time, these rappers won't let on that they're geeks at heart. But keeping up appearances is hard work and thus I present you with the 9 Nerdiest Moments in the history of Rap music

Note: I didn't include anything from the "nerdcore" genre because that's just too easy. Those folks wear their geekiness on their sleeves... or, since they're geeks, in their pocket protectors. Zinga ding dong. Let's do it.
•"Proto Culture" by Del Tha Funkee Homosapien

If you've seen even a millisecond of an episode of MTV's "Cribs" featuring a rapper, you'd know these mofos like video games. When you're a single guy in your 20s with tons of disposable income, of COURSE you're gonna have a sick video game set up. But even though Rick Ross has every Madden since 98, you ain't gonna hear him discussing Franchise Mode on wax.

Which makes Del Tha Funkee Homosapien's year 2000-era joint "Proto Culture" all the more fascinating. The song doesn't just touch on the subject of video games, dude. It goes fucking deep. Check out some lyrics:

"If you don't know the culture, here's the whole structure... We get the kind of games you can't rent at Blockbuster... Rival schools, Batsu / Purchase you ought to / It came with one free CD, it's like I bought two / I hope they make part II for Dreamcast." The song is a treatise on circa 2000 diehard video gamers, coming from a dusted Bay Area rapper who just happens to be Ice Cube's cousin.

Oh, and I hope you didn't get the impression that Del's not up on his classic gaming, either. Cuz he is. "Playing Donkey Kong Jr., Venture, Rock and Rope / Games I thought was dope / While my moms was watching soaps... I remember Ninja Gaiden / Finished finally / With Ramone wouldn't answer the phone / This was before getting blown / I own the first Nintendo Power / With the maps of Zelda Help me conquer in an hour."

And like I said, I didn't include any nerdcore rappers here. This is a singularly geeky ass track from a somewhat gully fixture of the early 90s rap scene. I mean, dude is bragging about having the first Nintendo Power. That's my shit right there.

•"Cartoon Capers" by Kool Keith

My sister saw Kool Keith in concert about five years ago. It was the worst concert she ever saw; not because Kool Keith sucked in his performance or anything. It was just that he didn't perform. He had a DJ spin his record while he sat at the edge of the stage and smoked crack. Yeah.

Kool Keith, known to some as Dr. Octagon (even though those "some" would be wrong... since that's the name of his group... you tards), is a weird, gully motherfucker. I ran into him on the street last year right outside a ghetto K Mart. After giving him props (and, yeh, since I have wigger tendencies, we exchanged "Daps") I asked dude what he was up to. "Just shopping at K-Mart," he responded.

"Nah man, I mean, like career wise."

There was a pause.

"Like I said, just shopping at K-Mart, my man."

Needless to say, dude is legitimately repping the streets (also dude might be sleeping on the streets). But apparently, when not in "for tha' streets," mode, dude is watching cartoons. And, in a few rare occasions, rapping about them. Like in his song, "Cartoon Capers."

This song is preposterous because Keith is given a murderously vicious beat. Rather than take the opportunity to go at the sucka mc's or whatever else rappers "go at," dude just informs us about his favorite cartoons. Check some lyrics:

"I kick some styles that's fly and show Scooby Doo/ get the package and show it to Mr. Magoo / then call up Woody Wood, he hits on the pecker/ then I cut off his legs with my new Johnny Black and Decker."

I'm pretty sure close to 100 cartoons are mentioned in the span of this almost 5 minute long track. Shit is hilarious and kind of dope, but I can see why dude is mainly just chilling at K-Mart these days. No dis'res'pec

•"Unfriendly Game" by Masta Ace

Sports aren't inherently nerdy. Duh. When PLAYED, football is the game of the strong. The jock. The Anti-geek. But die hard sports fans? The kind who get off on statistics and trivia? Those bitches are floor to ceiling nerds. Sorry.

Which makes Brooklyn-based rapper Masta Ace's "mad lyrical, yo" joint "Unfriendly Game" blip on my geek radar. Rather than retread the typical Michael Jordan/Mike Tyson-name dropping terrain that LL Cool J and Jay Z seem to love traveling, dude goes deep inside football. And what's even nerdier is that the whole thing is then a metaphor for life "on da streetz." Check it:

"I'm about to take this beat, and teach you 'bout the agony of defeat / in this football game in the street / And no it ain't two hand touch, it's rough tackle / When niggas ball on your block, and they buss at you... It's hard to get first down, when your new in this rough town / You sell a pound its a TOUCHDOWN! / And niggas see the pigskin? They blast cops / Some federal agents dressed as mascots." Dude is mentioning mascots. Hilarious.

I'm sure the metaphor seemed deep at the time, but the way the song came out, it's a chuckle-filled geek off from start to finish.

•"Super Brooklyn" by the Cocoa Brovaz

The Cocoa Brovaz (formerly known as Smif-N-Wessun until the gun maker sued their ass) were a fixture of the New York rap scene much like the previews are a fixture at the movies. Shit's there, no one is too upset about it but no one's happy about it either. Dudes are basically the stereotypical generic mid 90s rap group. Their songs were lyrically dull and only got play because the underground production superteam Da Beatminerz gave them beats (why they gave them beats is still an unanswered question for the ages, up there with "Who actually buys Spam?" and "What's the capitol of Montana?").

Regardless, mofos were able to leap out of obscurity thanks to the one geeky impulse of their career -- rapping over the "Super Mario Bros." theme song. Well, kind of. They sampled the theme song, added drums and then rapped some gully, your-grandma-will-be-scared-of-these-boys shit on top and the subsequent product is the "hit" single "Super Brooklyn." Oh, almost forgot... shit has Mario jumping sounds throughout as well. Doooope.

The song actually had no traction on the radio. But if an iPod jockey at a college party drops the "needle" on this shit, be sure the nostalgia d-riders will be hootin' and hollering. I would've included some lyrics here, but seriously, dudes just rap about selling crack and shit.

•"Bad Guys Always Die" by Dr. Dre & Eminem

Of COURSE Eminem is a fucking nerd. He's a classic example of over-compensation. Dude acts hard and beats up members of the Insane Clown Posse in parking lots not because he's from "da streetz" but because he's a white-ass nerd at heart. Like the rest of us.

You will be hard pressed to find remnants of dude's nerdiness, however. That song off his last album where he raps in the voice of "Triumph The Insult Comic Dog" almost approaches nerdiness, but the song is called "Ass Like That" and, as the title suggests, is about hot asses (chick asses, I think, though I've been wrong before).

His most obviously geeky ass moment came in a place he thought no one would find it: on the "Wild Wild West" soundtrack. And he's probably right, most people haven't heard lick one of the Will Smith-starring motion picture soundtrack. But thanks to the net, I have. And thanks to me, you'll now hear it too.

The song is an entry in the very slim (pun intended!!) hip hop sub-genre "cowboy rap." And while a good Clint Eastwood flick isn't at all geeky, Dre and Em rhyming about their "satchels" certainly is. This song is particularly geeky because of its inclusion of key plot points from "Wild Wild West." Peep these lyrics:

"This is the spot, they call him Doc Loveless / He's goin around sayin he took the game from us / (Let's shoot him in his kneecaps, he'll never see it comin) / But he ain't got no legs, they cut 'em off at the stomach / He's got mechanical legs, he spins webs / Plus he's well respected by the hip-hop heads / Our mission - is to get him to stop layin eggs."

Their mission... to "get him to stop layin eggs"!!!?! What the fuck? Em, just get it over with and bust out your World of Warcraft-themed rhyme book. Jeeesus. NERRRRD!

•"Phone Home" by Lil' Wayne

This is the newest song of all the entries on the list, seeing as it's from an album that came out two days ago. I fucking hate Lil' Wayne. You might love him. Whatever, we're not discussing his (lack of) merits here. We're discussing his geek credentials.

Which he easily earned in his "E.T." inspired jam "Phone Home." "We are not the same, I am a Martian" Wayne raps, over a piano loop that resembles music from the "E.T." soundtrack. The chorus is equally geeky and weird with its repeated (and, yet again, "E.T." inspired) chant: "Phone Home!"

Which is enough to get the song on this list (especially when its this nerdy yet holds a spot on a mainstream rap album). And that's gonna have to be enough because Lil Wayne is physically incapable of staying on topic for the duration of a song (at one point, dude busts out the line "I'm rare, like Mr. Clean with hair." Which seems kinda funny, but makes no sense... how the fuck is Wayne rare? Duuude... get your shit straight.) You're well done... wink wink, brutha.

Either way, this is one weird ass song.

•"22 Twos" by Jay Z

Despite my lofty claims in the intro, not all rappers are nerds (though all nerds are rappers... Stephen Hawking's new shit drops next month, ya herrrrd). One such example of a rapper who simply shows no signs of geekiness is Jay Z. Yeh, dude is ugly and is fucking a super hot chick. But he's not Bill Gates-ing her. He's Gene Simmonsing her, ya know?

Dude seemed to have significant swag all the way back to his first album, the arguably classic "Reasonable Doubt." That being the case, dude make one foray into geek territory with his hot joint "22 Twos."

For those not in the know, the infamous song features Jigga rapping the word "two" (in all its forms) exactly 22 times. Sample lyrics: "Too much West coast dick-lickin, and too many niggaz on a mission / Doin your best Jay-Z rendition / Too many rough motherfuckers, I got my suspicions / that you're just a fish in a pool of sharks nigga, listen." Now, even when dude is doing math rap, he's coming hard and slick. But if you had only heard this song, you'd be expecting homie to bust out palindromes and anagrams in his next couple of songs. Obviously, that never happened. You fucking NERD.

•"Grandmasters" by Gza

Of COURSE I had to get some Wu Tang on this list. Those dudes are constantly talking about karate and kung fu movies and comic books (Ghostface Killah's nickname is Ironman... wowsa) and shit. But it's hard to nail down any unified front of geekery in any of their songs. And also they normally come ultra vicious with that crack and murder rap. That's why we love the Wu so much. They're the most creative dudes who have ever rapped (besides Karl Rove).

That's why I had to run to the most cohesive (and let's face it, most talented) lyricist in the Wu, the Gza AKA the Genius. Dude is basically the anti-Wayne in that he sticks to topics for entire songs and sometimes, like in the case of "Grandmasters," entire albums.

The whole record is an extended dedication to chess. From the intro ("Opening") to songs like "Advance Pawns," "Queen's Gambit" and the closer, "Smothered Mate," dude covers all his bases when it comes to chess. The songs themselves don't contain chess-related lyrics but each one serves as a fully realized metaphor for a moment in a chess game. That's some heady, geeky ass shit right there. And the whole thing comes full circle when you find out the Wu Tang Clan is actually opening a Wu Tang chess website. These dudes mean business, apparently.

•Canibus' Entire Career

If there's one non-nerdcore rapper out there who embraces the tenets of geekiness more than anyone I've ever heard, it's Canibus. Dude is a traditional battle MC who just gets lost in his own head. His albums are littered with intricately woven songs filled with geeky tidbits of knowledge. Dude is basically like that one roommate you had in college who wasn't so good with girls who'd always drop factoids about Mystery Science Theater 3000 when you were secretly fingering some slut under the blanket on your couch.

Except dude goes a bit deeper (and geekier) than MST3K. This is on some MIT shit more than anything, folks. Let's look at some lyrics from dude's song "Master Thesis":

"Color is vibration, vibration is sound / sound resonates through the mouth check it out / What I say vibrates no less than 9 ways / South, South East, West, south west, east / North, North east, North west / And the black and white images fade / to great sound waves."

Dude is coming hard on some "color is vibration" shit!? Like, whaaat the... Canibus even trumps Jay Z's "22 Twos" joint with his "Niggonometry" song, where he breaks down the #s involved in being a black dude in the Americas.

To put it all in perspective, Canibus most recently recorded a 22 minute long rap song that was 1 steady string of dense lyrics called "Poet Laureate Infinity." It is the longest uninterrupted stream of rap ever recorded. And more than anything else, award winning geekery is the most geeky of all geekiness. Geek.

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Huge Warehouse Can Be Played Like an Organ

n the first part of our “playable buildings” series, Environmental Graffiti reporter Jammie Nicholas, explores the BATTERY MARITIME BUILDING, NY

creative time
image (c) Creative Time

In the cavernous, 9,000 square foot Great Hall of the former lower Manhattan ferry terminal, sits the man who once sang about *Burning down the House.* David Byrne, who from behind a retrofitted, antique organ that acts as the control station for the musical instrument, is no longer speaking in tongues. He is politely inviting visitors to instead *Play the Building*.

warehouse organ

image (c) Creative Time

Instead of using wind forced through pipes, each of the organ’s keys are connected by a multitude of tubes, pipes and wires to every conceivable facet of the building. Playing the organ causes various devices to hammer on water pipes, vibrate motors against the ceiling girders, magnetically beat against the building’s roof columns or blow air through pipes. The 99 year old previously disused space is converted into a cast-iron orchestra, conducted by Byrne or any other person who wishes to play.

image (c) Creative Time

image (c) Creative Time

image (c) Creative Time

image (c) Creative Time

This site-specific installation, which was previously installed in Sweden, reflects the orchestral cacophony of the streets of New York. It is one of a number of pieces concerned with the overlooked aspects of the city space, including the Turner Prize winning British artist and now Camera d’Or winning director Steve Mcqueen, who rolled a reclaimed oil barrel through 14 blocks of upper Manhattan, recording video and sound throughout his journey.

The building can be played until August 10th but as Byrne has said, “Nobody is going to be able to play Bach on it.”

image (c) Creative Time

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Review: Incredible Hulk Is a Handsome Hunk of Mayhem

Handsomely photographed, fast-paced and reasonably well-acted, The Incredible Hulk skips the introspective angst that slowed down Ang Lee's 2003 superhero character study Hulk.

Instead, French director Louis Leterrier (Transporter) catapults Edward Norton's Bruce Banner, pursued by military mad men, from the slums of Rio De Janeiro through Central America and up the Eastern Seaboard, before arriving in Manhattan for a car-shredding smackdown with a creature who's even more pissed off than our hero's rage-infected alter ego.

As the man/monster says during an early confrontation with one of his tormenters: "You don't understand. Me angry -- very bad."

Well, yeah. But when Hulk is very bad, the movie is very good. It's about the action, and Norton -- a brainy Yale-educated, Oscar-nominated actor -- doesn't get much chance to demonstrate Bruce Banner's ingenuity. Then again, the movie's not called The Life and Times of Bruce Banner. When the Green One gets his first broad-daylight beauty shot at "Culver University" about 40 minutes into the film, it's a spectacle to behold.

More review, more pictures and some spoilers after the jump.

Credit Rhythm & Hues visual effects supervisor Kurt Williams, who fused CG and motion-capture performances by former Cirque Du Soleil gymnast Terry Notary, with shaping Hulk's campus meltdown and his climactic Manhattan rumble with The Abomination.

Norton runs and bums a lot throughout the movie, and the rest of the cast keeps it simple. Liv Tyler doesn't even try to pull off the clinical manner you might expect from a professor of cellular biology, but who cares: As Banner's unconflicted girlfriend, she generates a sweet chemistry with Norton, and even gets to flash a little temper of her own in the middle of a New York City traffic jam. William Hurt plays General Thaddeus "Thunderbolt" Ross with understated malice.

The juicy stuff goes to Tim Roth's Emil Blonsky. An expert at the craft of film villainy who earned an Oscar nomination as a sadistic creep in Rob Roy, Roth convinces as an increasingly rabid special-ops officer hankering for a more youthful body so he can do some real damage.

At the movie's start, Banner is strapped down in a dentist's chair from hell when he Hulks out and goes into a rage, sending girlfriend Betty into a coma as his experiment in gamma-ray irradiation goes haywire. Some 158 days later, Banner's hiding out in a Brazilian slum and instant-messaging a mysterious Mr. Blue to figure out an antidote. To pay rent, Banner works in a soda-bottling factory; a drop of his blood gets into one of the beverages, setting up Marvel Comics kingpin Stan Lee's second cool cameo of the summer blockbuster season.

The mishap leads the military to Banner's hideout and a Bourne Identity-style foot race over the rooftops of the favela (although this one's not as inventive as the spy flick's). The chase culminates in a dimly lit Hulk event that shocks and awes Blonsky. "He threw a forklift truck like it was a softball," he mutters. "This is a whole new level of weird."

Banner wakes up wearing shredded pants in Guatemala and eventually makes his way back to his lab in Virginia, where he tearfully reunites with a fully recovered Betty. Posing as a pizza-delivery man to recover his research data, Banner has a sly exchange with the lab's security guard (played by Lou Ferrigno, giving TV's Hulk his due props with another sweet cameo).

After a helicopter-smashing temper tantrum on campus, Hulk and Betty high-tail it to the Great Smoky Mountains, where they enjoy a King Kong moment that allows the big green guy to show his tender side (and paves the way for a later romantic scene that shows a very real reason Banner's so bummed about his Hulk problem). Then it's onward to New York, where goofy scientist Samuel Sterns (aka Mr. Blue, played by Tim Blake Nelson) gets off some of the film's funniest lines before strapping Banner down, wiring up his head with electrodes and injecting him with God knows what.

Eventually, a power-drunk Blonsky bulks up on gamma rays, turns into the Abomination, and tears up the streets of Manhattan. In response, Banner dives out of a helicopter and emerges from the crushed sidewalk in full Hulk mode.

Then Hulk and the Abomination fight like only twin gamma titans can, in an extended battle scene made to savor on the big screen.

Hulk's travels are also gorgeously photographed by cinematographer Peter Menzies Jr. (Die Hard: With a Vengeance, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider), but our superhero's journey is seriously marred by a nearly nonstop bombastic musical score that spells out every beat of the action.

Zak Penn's solid but not particularly breath-taking story line slips in those sly cameo appearances en route to a forward-spin at the end that should leave fans slobbering for more: After the titanic dust-up between Hulk and Abomination, Hurt's weary general is nursing a drink in a saloon when a visitor walks up with a word of encouragement. It's ... never mind -- just another mighty Marvel cameo (and this one comes before the credits).

Vengeance is sweet, but the Avengers are sweeter.

WIRED: The Abomination, since power may corrupt but absolute power breeds absolutely awesome fight scenes; Marvel crossover cameos; expressive CGI work.

TIRED: For the love of God, pump down the volume -- Craig Armstrong's unrelenting soundtrack fills nearly every second of screen time.


Image courtesy Universal Pictures

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Exclusive: Gale Anne Hurd Talks Hulk, NO CAPTAIN AMERICA and The Punisher!

Gale Anne Hurd is perhaps one of the hottest movie producers in recent years. As a woman in male dominated Hollywood, she's has had to put up with a ton of crap and the little lady is a lot tougher than she looks. Hurd was the powerful force behind the early blockbusters of James Cameron as well as the Michael Bay sci-fi hit 'Armageddon'. Her latest venture is 'The Incredible Hulk' which she describes as more of a "reboot" than a remake of Ang Lee's 2003 "The Hulk" which she also produced.

In a candid interview for the film, she spoke with us about the challenges of revitalizing the series and the decisions involving bringing aboard fresh blood like actor Edward Norton and director Louis Letterier. She also discusses the many Marvel comics characters tied into the Hulk story and provides some insight as to when we'll see the first trailer for her next Marvel production, 'The Punisher: War Zone'.

The hottest news is that on the eve of The Incredible Hulk's release, fans are in a frenzy over rumors regarding a cameo appearance by Captain America. Despite Leterrier's statements that Cap was cut from an artic sequence, Hurd personally told us he was never in the film.

"He didn't really mean the character of Captain America, unless there's something that I don't know...Captain America was not visible in that scene."

Who are you gonna believe, the director of the film or the big boss herself?

Read on to learn more:

LatinoReview: With all do respect to Ang Lee's film why do a remake only five years later?

Hurd: Well, I don't think it's a remake in the sense that it's not an origin story. It carries on with Bruce Banner already as The Hulk. I think that might be splitting hairs, but at the same time what we found was that audiences love this character and they were very vocal in what they liked about the first film and what they wanted more of in the film and we've taken that to heart.

LatinoReview: Was it a challenge to come up with a story that fans would appreciate?

Hurd: The great thing is that with so many years and with such a broad range of stories in Marvel's 'Hulk' universe there were so many to choose from. So, yeah. I think the biggest thing was trying to whittle it down to a particular story from both the comic book as well as what people loved from the television series.

LatinoReview: Why do you think Edward Norton was the best candidate to choose instead of going back to, say, Eric Bana?
Hurd: Well, the first thing was that Eric Bana was already committed and was making 'Time Traveler's Wife' and so that wasn't a possibility. So, if you think about the film as also being equally inspired by the television series, who captures the sense that Bill Bixby did so beautifully. You've got someone who's playing a scientist and so you want someone who's intelligent, but at the same time is capable of demonstrating this sense of duality that's at the core of the character, the fear of The Hulk coming out, the conflict of, 'Do I try to cure myself? What do I do?' And Edward Norton's roles in 'Fight Club' and 'Primal Fear' really convinced us that no one could do it better than him.

LatinoReview: And your choice of Louis Letterier, what was the process of getting him onboard?

Hurd: Well, during the process we found that one thing that was so important to the fans was to embrace two key components of The Hulk. One of those was The Hulk as a heroic character and secondly a great action film and Louis work in 'The Transporter' films and 'Unleashed' which in Europe was released as 'Danny the Dog' showed that he could make inventive action films. But what was so surprising in those films is how wonderful those characters are, whether that's Jet Li or Jason Statham, but also Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins. So it was the perfect combination of an action sensibility, but someone who's equally at home with very strong actors.

LatinoReview: 'The Hulk' on the web is already receiving a lot of positive buzz. Were you guys worried that it wouldn't?

Hurd: I'd be lying if I said I wasn't concerned because we felt that we didn't start neutral [laughs]. We started in negative territory and we really had to deliver not only a good film, but a film that exceeded people's expectations because a lot of people wondered why we should do it again, that maybe this was a character that shouldn't be seen on the big screen and that maybe there was a reason why it didn't work the first time.

LatinoReview: I really liked Tim Roth's character.

Hurd: Right. Emil Blonsky.

LatinoReview: Again, how did you go about getting Tim aboard? Was he a fan of the comic?

Hurd: Well, it's funny because we have such an international group here. Tim as it turns out has boys and they're big fans of comic books and they were the ones who encouraged him to do the movie and Tim is a real family guy. He's very dedicated and he knew that this film was going to be a long shoot, taking him away from his family and he gave his kids the veto power. They said, 'No, dad. You have to be The Abomination.' He showed the film to them while he was at the screening on Sunday and they loved it and so he's a very happy dad now.

LatinoReview: Will we see Blonsky coming back?
Hurd: He hasn't exactly expired at the end of the movie. There's that possibility, but we have an embarrassment of riches there because…well, I guess this would be a spoiler. We also have another character who could return in another movie.

LatinoReview: Can you talk about why Edward Norton's name was left off the writing credits?

Hurd: That was a Writer's Guild decision and not ours.

LatinoReview: With Marvel's announcement that 'The Avengers' will come out in 2011 how soon do you go back for a sequel to 'The Incredible Hulk'?

The first thing we want to do is make sure that the fans are as enthusiastic about this film as we hope that they will be. They're going to speak very soon. They're going to be speaking in forty eight hours.

LatinoReview: So why include Tony Stark in this film?

Well, it's the Marvel Universe and there is the ability to cross pollinate like they do in the comic books. You can have Hulk and Spider-Man. You can have Hulk and Iron Man which wasn't a possibility when all of the different characters were controlled by different studios. The studios want to keep their franchises separate.

LatinoReview: It's been assumed that parts of the film dealing with Banner's emotions were left out to give the film more action. Is that true or false?

Hurd: Well, the film already had a lot of action. I think it's always a question of what the best version of the story we want to tell is. I think you really get who Banner is in the film. Edward's performance is tremendous and we found that there were times in the film when you really wanted to start accelerating with his quest for a cure and instead the movie was putting on the breaks. So it's always a question that in editing you find and you find that there's a movie in there and the entire process is actually uncovering that movie, uncovering the best version of the film. I certainly feel that the performances are all top notch across the board.

LatinoReview: What was Louis talking about when he said Captain America was in the film?

Hurd: He didn't really mean the character of Captain America, unless there's something that I don't know. It's the serum.

LatinoReview: I felt that there was a presence around the film of Captain America, and not that you actually see him.

Hurd: Exactly.

LatinoReview: Is Captain America in the frozen tundra? Cause on the trailer we see Banner walking on the tundra and I wanted to know if Captain America was in that scene or not?
Hurd: Captain America was not visible in that scene.

LatinoReview: There was a lot of talk because you do see the Captain America shield in 'Iron Man'

Hurd: Right. Well we do have the serum. If you look at the movie again you'll see that the serum is Captain America.

LatinoReview: There's also 'The Punisher'. What will Ray Stevenson bring to this version of The Punisher that wasn't in the previous films?

I think that what Ray has, first of all he's more the age of the character from the comic books. He really looks to me like he's stepped off of a Tim Bradstreet cover, and in fact Tim Bradstreet, there are going to be some posters soon that he's done which you'll see. But also Ray Stevenson, especially from his work as Titus Pullo in 'Rome', I really got the sense that 'Rome' was a warm-up for him to bring all of that to 'The Punisher'.

LatinoReview: Why hasn't there been anything released for 'The Punisher' aside from the teaser poster? When will there be a trailer for the film?

Hurd: The teaser will be out within the next three weeks. We're still in post-production on the film and it doesn't come out until December. I think that's actually the perfect timing, to have a teaser coming out at the end of June, beginning of July for a movie coming out in December. You don't want to be too early with your materials. With 'Hulk' the first teaser trailer didn't come out until March.

LatinoReview: Is this the rated R 'Punisher' that fans have been waiting for?

Hurd: It is a very hard R movie. Yes.

LatinoReview: Since it's a part of the Marvel Universe will there be tie-in cameos with other heroes or is The Punisher being kept separate?

Hurd: Well, 'The Punisher' is for Lionsgate and so it's separate entity.
LatinoReview: Any sequels planned for that?

Hurd: We take it one step at a time.

LatinoReview: What other superheroes would you like to see on the big screen?

Hurd: Well, you know what, I'm really looking forward to 'Thor'.

LatinoReview: How is it coming along?

Hurd: It's not my project, but I know that they have a script that's going to be turned in soon, but I'm really looking forward to seeing that on the big screen.

LatinoReview: It was just announced that you were doing 'Boston Strangler'.

Hurd: Well, now that I'm coming up for air on this one and we're going to be locking picture on 'Punisher: War Zone' shortly I'm looking forward to that. I actually have a meeting in two weeks to get started conceptualizing that film and going into production.

LatinoReview: So, now I can tell my kids not to worry about not seeing Captain America in The Incredible Hulk.

No. They didn't miss anything. He wasn't in the frozen tundra.

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Superheroes Who Can't Have Sex

Two of this summer's biggest movies star superheroes who can't get laid — or terrible things will happen. (We won't reveal which movies here, since it's a minor spoiler.) But in any case, these heroes aren't alone — a vow of chastity has been part of the "great responsibility" that has come with superheroes' great power for years now. Here's a list of great superheroes who can never get any. Ever. (Spoilers ahead!)
This summer's superheroic vows of chastity:

Okay, now that you've consented to be spoiled, our two abstinent heroes are the Hulk and Hancock. Actually, in the case of Hancock, it's not strictly true that he can't have sex — according to early screening reports, he simply has to be very, very careful where, and how, he ejaculates. In one scene from Hancock (which had the original title of Tonight, He Comes) Hancock has brought a cute young thing back to his trailer, and they're getting busy. But then Hancock gets close to his climax, and warns the woman to back way, way up. Hancock gets off — and we see his semen riddle his ceiling with holes, almost like bullet holes. (Comics afficionados will not be surprised to learn this scene is ripped off from a Garth Ennis comic.)

As for the Hulk, there's a scene in Friday's new movie where Bruce Banner is in a motel room with Betty. They start to do what the young people do in motel rooms, and Bruce's heart-rate monitor gets more and more bleepy. His heart is pounding with the excitement of making out with a vacant-eyed Liv Tyler, it's too much for him, he's losing his shit, he's going to, oh my god, he's going to... he's going to... Bruce pulls away from Betty just in time to keep from becoming the Hulk. Yes, he can't get sexually aroused without Hulking out. (And I am not going to make any jokes about whether you would like him when he's horny. I'm better that that.)

A digression: Can the Hulk really not get laid?

I'll get to the list of other sexually frustrated heroes in a second. Since I've read almost every Hulk comic ever published (except I admit Bruce Jones lost me after a while) I should stick in a little dissertation about the Hulk's sexual history. Can the comics version of the Hulk really never have sex? We know that the Hulk is Incredibly, perhaps Unfeasibly, well-hung, because the Hulk gets naked in Incredible Hulk #400 and his arch-enemy The Leader remarks on how well-endowed he is. But it's strongly implied, during the "gray Hulk" period, that the gray Hulk — who's working as a Las Vegas leg-breaker — is getting laid on a fairly regular basis.

Bruce and Betty have sex at least twice that I can think of. Once when they first get married, after Bruce has been "cured" of being the Hulk (so there's no danger of Bruce Hulking out.) And once when Bruce gets his pathology backwards, so he's either a peaceful Hulk or a savage, rampaging puny human. In his "savage Banner" form, Betty has sex with him and this calms him down.

There's also the famous sequence in Hulk #300, where the Hulk has gone completely berzerk and Bruce's influence is all gone. The Hulk is trashing New York, and Eros, "the creepiest Avenger" tries to subdue the Hulk using his psychic abilities to generate "waves of pleasure." He learns the hard way that you shouldn't try to pleasure the Hulk in the middle of his rampage. Still more evidence, I guess, that the Hulk and sex don't usually mix. Unless he's gray.

(Update: Commenters have pointed out that the Hulk hooked up with Caiera The Oldstrong in Planet Hulk, the greatest Hulk storyline ever. But she's an alien who's almost impervious to most harm, so it's slightly different.)

I can't have sex, or I'll steal your powers/life/money:

Poor Rogue from the X-men. She's got the cool Susan Sontag hair, and the leather jumpsuit, and the hot boyfriend... but she can never touch anyone. Whenever she does touch another person, she absorbs their memories, strength and physical abilities. She also steals people's superpowers with her touch. She's tragically untouchable. The sexual frustration is so horrendous, it drives her to get rid of her powers in X-Men 3.

I can't have sex because I'm a robot, with non-functioning sex parts:

Beautie is one of the members of the Honor Guard, one of the main superhero teams in Astro City, Kurt Busiek's fictional superhero town. She's always looked like a Barbie doll, but we've never known much about the robot girl — until Busiek published the Astro City Character Special: Beautie last February. There, we see some "pick-up artists" try to hit on Beautie, only to be told that she has no genitalia. None whatsoever.

Other robot or cyborg superheroes who can't have sex include Robotman from the Doom Patrol and Vic Stone aka Cyborg from the Teen Titans. But this isn't true for all robo-heroes, as Star Trek's Data would tell us. The hordes of comic book sex-perverts are pretty certain that the Vision, the android member of the Avengers, did in fact get it on with the Scarlet Witch when the two of them were married.

I can't have sex because my super-strength will end you:

Hancock sort of belongs in this category, since his sperm are deadly to human females. So, too, does Superman, according to Larry Niven, who famously thought way too much about the implications of Krypto-sperm. Besides the speeding-bullet properties of the sperm themselves, there's the fact that Superman might cause an injury if he got too excited during intercourse — and according to the movie Mallrats, the sperm would probably tear Lois Lane's fallopian tubes apart as well. Some self-proclaimed experts also believe Wonder Woman is incapable of having sex with a normal human, for similar reasons.

Spider-Man, meanwhile, has a slightly different problem: He can have sex. But prolonged exposure to his ummm... radioactive bodily fluids eventually kills his wife Mary Jane in a future dystopian story, Spider-Man: Reign by Kaare Andrews.

No sex, please, I'm dead.

There are a surprising number of superheroes who are dead, either undead or ghosts... and most of them never get laid. I'm thinking of Deadman, who's insubstantial except for when he takes control over a living body. (And his ethics might prevent him from using someone else's body as a vehicle for sex, I'm guessing.) And the Spectre, who's basically the spirit of vengeance — he can become tangible, but I'm highly doubtful he ever gets any. (Although the Ostrander run on The Spectre did get a bit saucy at times.)

Basic incompatibilities:

And then finally there are a number of superheroes whose bodies are just not compatible with anybody else, for various reasons. Like Mogo, who's an entire planet and a member of the Green Lantern Corps. Who can Mogo have sex with? Element Lad from the Legion of Superheroes was celibate for a long time because he was the last of his kind, but did finally find love with a member of the Science Police who took a sex-change drug. There's Negative Man from the Doom Patrol, who's basically a radioactive mummy who has to wear protective bandages at all times, and (I think) can never touch anybody without the bandages in the way.

Update: I totally forgot I was going to write a whole thing about Ben Grimm from the Fantastic Four in here, because it's hinted at various times that he has nothing but more rocks under his little shorts. His girlfriend, Alicia, dumps him and starts dating Johnny Storm, the Human Torch. She makes it pretty clear that this is the first time in ages that she's gotten any action — meaning she wasn't getting any when she was with Ben. Poor Ben.

Thanks to Douglas Wolk for research help!

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