Report what comic books you have read today--and tell us a little something about it while you're here!

Views: 52677

Reply to This

Replies to This Discussion

Peter David wrote in one of his columns (possibly for CBG) that he felt as a reader and writer that Amazing Spider-Man #31-33 was the end of Peter's coming-of-age story, where he went from being a callow youth to really being Spider-MAN. More to the point, he said he felt like after the Master Planner saga, no more Spider-Man stories needed to be written.A lot more stories could be written, he said, and have been, but they didn't need to be.

This morning I whizzed through the last five DC facsimile editions, which I hear may be the last, period. I didn't really read the main stories, which in most cases I've read 5 or 10 times, but did try to pay attention to material I hadn't seen before. They are:

Detective Comics #38: Introduction of Robin. Didn't read the main story, but being a Golden Age book, there was plenty more behind Batman. Trouble is, it's all awful. I'd already read the Red Logan and Crimson Avenger stories (for my book), and didn't read them again, so maybe those two could be above average.Probably not, at least in the case of Red Logan, which was a consistently stupid strip. The only real highlight after Batman was Slam Bradley. Juvenile, yes, but it didn't take itself seriously and seemed more polished and confident. Which is weird, since Siegel and Shuster were very young and had no formal training. The creators of drek like Spy, Speed Saunders, Steve Malone and Cliff Crosby should have been taking notes.

Brave and Bold #28: First Justice League story. Spoiler: Starro still loses. There is no letters page, but there's a text piece on the possibility of faster-than-light travel (maybe intended for The Flash and re-purposed?) and a one-page feature on starfish, which, in retrospect, taught me everything I know to this day about starfish. Highlight: A one-page Superboy PSA about helping others. Boy, I miss the days when courtesy and civics were considered unalloyed positives by both political parties. In those days, if you were racist, selfish or venal you kept it to yourself. Now you brag about it, and run for office as a Republican.

Mystery in Space #75: This is the first Adam Strange/JLA team-up, with Kanjar Ro as the villain. Although outdated, I loved seeing the "Planets of Wonder" and "Our Strange Universe" one-pagers again. My nostalgia sense was a-tingle over the house ads too, which featuring May-June 1962 issues of Flash, Green Lantern, Justice League of America, Sea Devils and Strange Adventures. And look: A letter from Buddy Saunders in the letters page! Also: a PSA about learning how to negotiate instead of fight, back when that was a virtue. Not to beat a dead horse, but I wondered in those days who really needed those PSAs. I thought, "Doesn't everyone learn that stuff in Sunday School or Boy Scouts or whatever?" Now I know who needed that stuff, because they are now adults, and some of them are in the White House and Congress.

The Flash #123: This is the issue with the famous "Flash of Two Worlds." This arrived before my brother started collecting, so I didn't read it contemporaneously, which means the house ads drive a stake through my heart. First Superman Annual? First Batman Annual? First Secret Origins 80-Page Giant? Oh, man, I want them so bad! (Actually, I may have one or two of them now. But they were unattainable treasures to the Li'l Capn.) By the time I read this story, I had already read "Crisis on Earth-One!/Crisis on Earth-Two!" as well as a couple of Jay Garrick team-ups, so it was basically backstory for me about Jay, The Thinker, The Shade and The Fiddler. (This may be my introduction to The Thinker, come to think of it.) There's also a "Fastest Trips Around the World" one-pager and a letters page of little note, except that the authors of letters that got printed received original art, including covers, which is true in a couple of other of these facsimiles. Again, a heart-breaker, since that policy ended before I was old enough to write a letter.

Green Lantern #1: Unsurprisingly, the lead story reprises GL's origin from Showcase #22. I didn't start reading GL until issue #9 or 10, so I'm a little fuzzy on his early history. For example, I was surprised to see that the Guardians were already part of the saga; I though it took longer for Hal to find out who he worked for and where the ring came from. On the inside front cover, Buzzy (was he a character?) teaches the value of free speech for all. The one house ad is, I think strangely, for Dobie Gillis, described as the ginchiest, kookiest, endsville and utmost most. Did DC think there was a lot of overlap between readers of teen humor and sci-fi superhero? It's like they really weren't ready for this issue, because the one-pagers were off-genre too, including "Nobel Prize Winners," "Black Magic!" and "Surprising Satellites" (half-pager). The highlight, though, has to be the letters page, with a missive from a guy named Roy Thomas, who proposes an arch-villain for GL called Shockman, who wears yellow and shoots electric bolts. 



Captain Comics said:

Buzzy (was he a character?) 

Leave it to the Baron. Thanks for answering that question, old friend.

MORE ABOUT DITKO: My own personal opinion about Ditko (as full of $#!T as anyone else's) is that he truly believed Spider-Man's success was due solely to him. In his worldview, when he jumped ship, Spider-Man should have crashed and burned. When it didn't, when it became (in my opinion) even better, it drove him kind of nuts. I have since read Hawk & Dove #3-6, interspersed with Teen Titans #21, 22-24. 

GERRY CONWAY'S NEW GODS: This collection comprises First Issue Special #13, New Gods #12-19, Super-Team Family #15, Adventure Comics #459-460, DC Special Series #10, and Justice League of America #183-185, in that order, which is exactly the order (slightly out of publication order) I would have chosen myself. Having said that, dropping a few of these stories would make for a better narrative.

First Issue Special #13 is largely superfluous, and the art,by Mike Vosburg, is a big turn-off.Super-Team Family #15 interrupt the flow of the story no matter where it's placed, and DC Special Series #10 is entirely apocryphal. Beyond that, back in 1985, after I had discovered Jack Kirby's "Fourth World" via the New Gods reprint series, I was also filling in JLA backissies. It was via #183-185 that I discovered New Gods #12-19 and Adventure Comics #459-460 by Don Newton.

I first became aware of Don Newton when he took over Infinity, Inc from Jerry Ordway. (Unfortunately, he died after only an issue or two.) It wasn't until later that I discovered his work on Batman and The Phantom (and later still I bought collections of those runs). thre three-part annual JLA/JSA crossover featured the last art of Dick Dillin, and the first of George Perez's run. Storywise, Gerry Conway's plots are on par with later post-Crisis continuations as John Byrne's, Walt Simonson's and Jim Starlin's. None of these are really as good as Jack Kirby's, but they are all interesting interpretations. 

Captain Comics said:

The one house ad is, I think strangely, for Dobie Gillis, described as the ginchiest, kookiest, endsville and utmost most. Did DC think there was a lot of overlap between readers of teen humor and sci-fi superhero?

I think that at the time of Green Lantern #1 (only the second character revival) the higher-ups at DC weren’t yet sold on superheroes. One would think, though, that they would have promoted The Flash, their only other new hero at the time. Looking at Newsstand on Mike’s Amazing World, I note that Dobie Gillis #2 came out the same month as Green Lantern #1. Being a licensed character, maybe they were obligated to promote it. I was really surprised to note that GL appeared as a member of the JLA in The Brave and the Bold #28 before he had his own book!

MARVELS SNAPSHOTS: CAPTAIN AMERICA: A nice little story, but it's not really a Captain America story. the main character is a young man who falls in with the wrong crowd (Advanced Idea Mechanics) and is set during the "Madbomb" war. 

THE IMMORTAL HULK #34:This issue is an overview of the Leader. It's pretty good. It introduces a new element (or two), and it also addresses an old one (circa 1978 or so, IIRC) I had long since given up hope of ever seeing dealt with.

Jeff said: "My own personal opinion about Ditko (as full of $#!T as anyone else's) is that he truly believed Spider-Man's success was due solely to him. In his worldview, when he jumped ship, Spider-Man should have crashed and burned. When it didn't, when it became (in my opinion) even better, it drove him kind of nuts."

That's something that I haven't thought about before, but you're absolutely right that Ditko's Atlas Shrugged philosophy would teach that he was a "producer" while Stan Lee and Marvel were "looters." And, just as in the plot to Atlas Shrugged, once the producer left the company, the looters should fail.

And they didn't. Arguably, Ditko did instead.

You're right: That would be a real-world, empirical refutation of his philosophy. Since he didn't abandon the philosophy, he would have to jump through some mental hoops to explain it away, or just live with the cognitive dissonance. Or maybe there's a third path; I'm not psychologist.

Anyway, carrying that thought forward, he essentially repeated Spider-Man with Blue Beetle and Creeper, although shifting his "Peter Parker" even farther to the right/libertarian/Objectivist viewpoint in both cases. His philosophy would tell them that they should be big hits like Spider-Man (while the original should wither on the vine). And that the readership should recognize the capital-T truth of Objectivism when it is presented unvarnished (and here, toss in The Question as well). When that didn't happen ... well, he did become a recluse, didn't he?

Jeff said: "I first became aware of Don Newton when he took over Infinity, Inc from Jerry Ordway. (Unfortunately, he died after only an issue or two.)"

Which is a really sad story. I discovered Newton when he was doing The Phantom in real time. He was so good, I wondered why he wasn't working for the Big Two and eagerly snatched up each issue. What I didn't know then, but know now, is that he had been trying to break into comics for a while, but had trouble doing so, primarily because he lived in Arizona and not New York, and refused to move due to his asthma. He didn't even get any Charlton assignments until he already 39 or 40. Then, lo, he broke in at DC -- only for the poor guy to die after getting his first big strip at 49, of a heart attack. A tragedy in every sense.

Richard said: "I was really surprised to note that GL appeared as a member of the JLA in The Brave and the Bold #28 before he had his own book!"

I had this explained to me, probably in a Commander Benson column, that although Green Lantern didn't have his own book when the JLA debuted, that first issue was already in the works. From DC's perspective, he had already made the grade, so he was included in Justice League, a team whose other six members all had eponymous books or back-up strips.

I don't remember where I heard this tidbit, and without attribution, I cannot say it's true. But it does make sense: Brave and Bold #28 is cover dated May 1960, while Green Lantern #1 is cover dated August 1960. DC would likely have already made the decision to promote GL to his own book by the time B&B #28 was written, time enough to include him.

And, I have to believe, wouldn't they have wanted a Green Lantern in the book with a Flash? Alan Scott and Jay Garrick were the face of the Justice Society for many issues of All-Star Comics, which had only been in limbo for nine years when the JLA debuted. Again, that's not verifiable fact. But if I were Julius Schwartz, I would have bent the rules to include GL in the cast, especially since Superman and Batman were not readily available.

I'd never heard of Buzzy Brown myself, but apparently he ran 1944 to 1958. Not a bad run for what I assume was one of the myriad imitators whose skulls Archie Andrews now drinks his chocolate malts from.

Captain Comics said:

Leave it to the Baron. Thanks for answering that question, old friend.

I finally broke down and bought some Walmart 100-pagers at my comic shop. I guess I had it in my head that they'd be like the old 100-pagers of yore, with a new lead story and then nothing but reprints (that, as opposed to the Golden Age reprints of the 1970s, these I would probably already own).

That wasn't the case with From Beyond the Unknown #1, which had two new lead stories. And the reprints, while were in fact stories I already have, were well selected. One was the F-Sharp bell story Alan Moore wrote for Green Lantern Corps that is a favorite.

I also read Batman #92-93 and Nightwing #71, which are leading into "Joker War." Not much has happened yet, so I have little to report. Well, except that it looks like they're going to turn Ric back into Dick, which can only be a good thing. I thought the whole Ric Grayson (or whatever he called himself) business was dopey from the get-go, and haven't bothered to read more than a few sample issues (that confirmed my expectation).

I mean, seriously: If you had a family member suffer something traumatic and lose his memory, would you allow him to go off to another city and set himself up with a new phony identity, while moonlighting as a crimefighter? No, you'd keep him close under medical supervision, working daily to restore his memory, or at least enough of it to function normally as himself. "Ric" does not exist, which is going to be a problem at some point, probably with the IRS.

However they explained this -- and I have no doubt they did -- I can't accept it. It's depraved indifference on the part of Bruce Wayne, Barbara Gordon, the Titans, and anybody else who  loves him. My suspension of disbelief is vast, but it has its limits.

One other thing: On the Nightwing cover, Joker's word balloon reads "So a sidekick walks into a bullet. ... Stop me if you've heard this one before." Well, yeah, Nightwing was hit with a bullet. But how could they resist Joker saying "a sidekick walks into a bar" with Joker holding a crowbar? Yeah, the crowbar was Jason, but it's funny!

Birds of Prey #1: I confess, I bought this because of the hype over Punchline, who has appeared now in two stories I've read. And I find her boring. Oh, well. Anyway, this is sort of an alt-Birds of Prey, with a different history than the one we know (and more like the movie), but with the cast being their normal DCU selves. Hmm. Well, OK, I can roll with that.

My main takeaway was when everybody kept saying "s***" a lot, which shocked me, until I turned to the cover and saw "Black Label." Aside from the cussing, though, it could have been a regular DCU book. Well, the cussin and those altered continuities. *shrug*

Joker and Catwoman 80th Anniversary Super-Spectaculars: I confess I'm getting Joker fatigue (again) but it doesn't look like I'm going to get any relief any time soon. But this anthology of Joker stories was OK. Lots of murder, as you'd expect, but some good lines and nice art. Azzarello and Risso (100 Bullets) re-unite for a story, and Risso does a good Joker (as he does a good everything).

As to Catwoman, same deal. It was a nice set of stories from different eras, and without any continuity to deal with. One thing surprised me, though: The 1980s story cast her as a prostitute, complete with oral sex jokes and other sex references. I didn't think that was canon -- it was just in Miller's Batman: Year One story, right? Well, maybe that's canon, too. I don't want it to be, though, because having Catwoman as a common whore ("I'm on my knees a lot") damages her brand as a cat -- an animal that does no favors. Miller cast her as a dominatrix, which fits her established persona better. Also, ew.

Lastly, I read the first issues of "Empyre" and "Death Metal," but that's my column this week so you'll have to wait!

Captain Comics said:

I discovered Newton when he was doing The Phantom in real time. He was so good, I wondered why he wasn't working for the Big Two and eagerly snatched up each issue. What I didn't know then, but know now, is that he had been trying to break into comics for a while, but had trouble doing so, primarily because he lived in Arizona and not New York, and refused to move due to his asthma. He didn't even get any Charlton assignments until he already 39 or 40. Then, lo, he broke in at DC -- only for the poor guy to die after getting his first big strip at 49, of a heart attack. A tragedy in every sense.

I had seen a lot of Don Newton’s art before he was a pro. He did a lot of covers for fan publications like Rocket’s Blast/Comicollector. His art was so professional. Wikipedia reminds me that he did a strip for more than a year in RB/CC called "The Savage Earth." In today’s comic industry, when you can work anywhere, he would have been a huge success.

Richard said: "I was really surprised to note that GL appeared as a member of the JLA in The Brave and the Bold #28 before he had his own book!"
I don't remember where I heard this tidbit, and without attribution, I cannot say it's true. But it does make sense: Brave and Bold #28 is cover dated May 1960, while Green Lantern #1 is cover dated August 1960. DC would likely have already made the decision to promote GL to his own book by the time B&B #28 was written, time enough to include him.

I would also guess that Julie had already been given the go-ahead for Green Lantern #1. Flash had gone through four widely scattered issues of Showcase. Green Lantern only had three consecutive issues of Showcase, and Mike's Amazing World tells me that the third went on sale only one month before the Justice League debut in The Brave and the Bold #28. I immediately took to The Flash. My first issue was #111, on sale the same month as B&B 28, December 1959. My first Green Lantern was #8, on sale in July 1961, attracted by the wildly different wash cover.

I still hope that one day the E. Nelson Bridwell/Don Newton "SHAZAM!" stories from World's Finest Comics will get collected!

I just read the last two issues of Basket Full of Heads. A great conclusion to a fun series... and I really hope to see more work from Leomacs soon. He's a hell of an artist!

Reply to Discussion

RSS

Welcome!

No flame wars. No trolls. But a lot of really smart people.The Captain Comics Round Table tries to be the friendliest and most accurate comics website on the Internet.

SOME ESSENTIALS:

RULES OF THE ROUND TABLE

MODERATORS

SMILIES FOLDER

TIPS ON USING THE BOARD

FOLLOW US:

OUR COLUMNISTS:

Groups

© 2020   Captain Comics, board content ©2013 Andrew Smith   Powered by

Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service