The kiddo managed to get another Halloween out of last year’s homemade Minecraft Spider Jockey costume. But it’s not easy to run around and play in, so we offered to buy him an alternate for parties, and he chose Ant-Man. Curiously, the costume didn’t come with gloves, so Katie took a pair of plain black gloves and attached controls to them.

It’s a good thing we had it, though, because the straps on the spider started digging into his shoulders a couple of blocks into trick-or-treating and he wanted to come home early. (But not before running into a Steve? in diamond armor!)

Cue the alternate costume!

Oh, and check out this year’s pumpkin carving as well! Hardly anyone saw it, because all the trick-or-treating action seemed to be a block away, and no one walked up to our door until 9:00.

Ant-Man’s helmet is carved on a real pumpkin. The goofy face on the right is a plastic one from a few years back.

The Avengers Ball

I was at the grocery store yesterday with my 3½-year old son, and he stopped as we passed a bin of balls. Most of them were solid or mottled, but he immediately picked up the Avengers ball, plastered with the logo and the heroes.

He turned it around for a bit, looking it over, then looked up at me and asked, “Where’s the Black Widow?”

I looked at it myself. Thor, Iron Man, the Hulk, Captain America…they were the comic book versions of the characters, but the lineup was clearly chosen for movie recognition. (We haven’t shown him the movies, but his mom is an avid Marvel Puzzle Quest player, and he’s learned the characters from watching her.)

And no, there was no sign of Black Widow. (To be fair, I didn’t see Hawkeye either.)

“That’s a good question,” I told him, suggesting maybe we should ask Marvel.

Really, Marvel — and DC too (someone got him a Justice League T-shirt when he was younger that subbed Green Lantern for Wonder Woman in the DC trinity) — you don’t have to be afraid that boys won’t want your merchandise if there’s a girl on it. They aren’t going to be bothered that she’s included, unless you teach them to be.

But even a three year old notices when she’s missing.

The suggestion box on my Flash site has picked up a couple of requests for the Flash’s “weakness.” The concept doesn’t really apply to the Flash’s powers, though. Thinking about it, if your hero has to have an off-switch, that’s kind of a sign that they’ve been over-powered, isn’t it?

It reminds me of a line that bothered me in Unbreakable. (Minor spoiler.) Samuel Jackson’s character explains to Bruce Willis that water is his Kryptonite. That’s hardly the case, though: a glass of water isn’t going to take him out of commission. He’ll still be invulnerable and super-strong while swimming. All it means is that he still has to breathe (and, presumably, eat and drink). A plastic bag over his head would be as effective as drowning.

Compare that to, say, Superman and Kryptonite, or Wonder Woman and being tied up, or past Green Lantern books and yellow objects or wood. It’s not in the same league (pun not intended).

Which brings us back to the Flash. What “weakness” does he have? Well, he’s a specialist, so he doesn’t have the advantage of super-strength or invulnerability. He can get tired. Like David Dunn, he has to breathe. He can get distracted. He can make mistakes. He can act without thinking. Are any of these really “weaknesses” in the Kryptonite sense, though?

It seems Marvel Comics’ insane lawsuit against City of Heroes has been settled. Details are sketchy, but “no changes to City of Heroes® or City of Villains’™ character creation engine are part of the settlement.”

Given that the lawsuit was basically the equivalent of suing pencil manufacturers because they could potentially be used to draw Spider-Man, it’s good to see that Marvel didn’t win (though a precedent-setting loss for Marvel might’ve been better in the long run).

(via Slashdot)

According to The Beat, a judge has thrown out about half the claims in Marvel’s lawsuit against City of Heroes.

Apparently several of the “infringing” works they cited were in fact made by Marvel, not by players. The judge also threw out claims that the game makers infringed trademarks directly and refused to issue a declaration that they are not a service provider (if they are considered a service provider, then they are shielded from liability under the DMCA as long as they take action quickly enough).

The post mostly reprints a press release from NCsoft, so it’s noticeably upbeat, but they do have precedent on their side—such as Sony vs. Betamax. Well, as long as none of the morons in Congress manage to force the Induce act through. That would basically declare that makers of pens and pencils are liable for any copyright or trademark infringement.

Follow-up post: The suit was settled in December.