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

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I believe that after all is done, there will be a book or books written about Morrison's Batman. Hopefully they get input and quotes from Figs, if he doesn't write it himself.

Doc Beechler said:
And, actually, I think Morrison's DC work SHOULD have charts and study guides...
I get what you're saying, Clark. Bruce Wayne, the man, has been slowly fading from the Batman mythos since the 90s. I am no fan of the control-freak, paranoid, divisive, anti-super-hero, my-way-or-the-highway Dark Knight. Cautious, yes. Prepared, yes. Creating kryptonite to take down Superman if necessary, no. "Firing" Robin, no! Building Brother Eye, NO! Wanting to manipulate all around him, NO!

But, while I'm no proponent for Post-Crisis DC, there are bright spots in today's books. Though some creators still favor an almost otherworldly Batman, others like Morrison, Dini, Milligan and the like do focus on Batman, the person. There are great books out there sometimes you have to pick and choose or be patient.

But it is interesting to note that the animated Batman: The Brave and the Bold, except for a couple of episodes, ignore Bruce altogether while The Batman series focused greatly on Bruce!

To take your point about Law & Order focusing on a thin sliver of Lenny Briscoe's life, leaving out all he does when he's not on The Job, part of what I find out of whack about the Batman titles is that they're only about Batman on The Job. Worse, the Batman we have been shown for a long, long time is quite unlikeable.

I was going to say something similar to this, but Clark beat me to it. Plus, there were at least tidbits dropped into Law & Order of what he was doing when we weren't watching him.

For me concerning Morrison's Batman work. I was either indifferent or didn't like it until Batman & Robin. I like it, I just don't wet my pants over it.

I have been reading the content from an issue of Fawcett's Captain Midnight series, #55. This was one of Fawcett's longer running titles. Captain Midnight is portrayed as an inventor/engineer. In these stories there is no mention of his Secret Squadron, and his chief gimmick is his glider wings. The stories are told in an attractive cartoony style.

The lead villain in the first story is an aviator/ gang leader called Hawk Harrigan. I've no reason for thinking he made any other appearances, and he's not a costumed crook, but I think he may have been the model for Marvel's Skyshark. He wears an aviator's cap with goggles, has a long nose with wide nostrils and a black moustache, and says people call him "the sky marauder".

The issue's second Midnight story is labelled "An Interplanetary Story". The villain is an alien raider called Jagga, apparently a regular in this series of space adventures. In a twist, in this story Jagga starts raiding Earth. Midnight has his own spaceship called the Meteor.

The third story stars Midnight's plainclothes assistant, Icky. He's played straight in the Midnight stories, but in this one he's portrayed comedically as a dope and uses the identity Sergeant Twilight. In this role he wears a hat, overalls, glasses and a clock that he hangs around his neck.

The next story is a three page serial called "Johnny Blair in the Air". This is action and intense-adventure oriented. In some respects the art is less cartoony than that in the Captain Midnight stories, but it also has elements that remind me of H.G. Peter's Wonder Woman stories, particularly one of the villains. This makes me wonder if it was drawn by one of Peter's assistants.

Aside from these items, there's another Midnight story in the issue, and filler pages.
I read Onslaught: Marvel Universe and the first X-Men books after, Uncanny #337 and #57.
I do have a couple of things I have been reading at work. I started the Showcase for the War That Time Forgot, and after nearly 100 pages I think I can put this away for a few months, before I need to pick it up again. A lot of sameness in these stories.

I also started reading the the first trade of District X (It was 4 bucks @ a con I went to last weekend), and it has actually been pretty darn good. I might do a fuller writeup later. But knowing my natural laziness probably not.
While at the library earlier this week I picked up the big American Splendor compilation that came out with the movie, and I've been reading a few stories a day. It contains the previously published anthologies American Splendor and More American Splendor. Must be a goodly percentage of Harvey Pekar's American Splendor stories from 1976 to 1987. I'm surprised how many of them I've remembered so far, because I don't think I was ever a regular reader of the comic. They hold up pretty well, with the ones illustrated by R. Crumb really standing out.
I’ve read the contents from the first issue of Sparks Publications’s Atoman. This was an anthology title that ran for two issues in 1945/46.

Atoman is the protagonist of the lead feature. His origin is that working with radium and uranium as an atomic scientist has made his body radioactive and “so geared… that it can explode atoms”, giving him “atomic strength”. In practice, this means he has superman-like powers. Jerry Robinson pencilled, but the story is unexciting and generic. (Atoman might be the first atomic-powered hero. DC’s Atom didn’t start to display super-strength until 1948.)

The second feature is “Kid Crusaders”, drawn by Mort Meskin. This reads much like his DC stories of the period, with the difference that the title characters are three friends (two boys and a girl) rather than superheroes.

The third feature is “”Wild Bill” Hickok”. Hickok is portrayed as “the fastest man with a six-shooter who ever lived”, and as on good terms with the Oklahoma Indians. The plot, having to do with white men posing as Indians to get them into trouble, covers ground I’ve seen seen covered before, but the storytelling is decent and the art is in an interesting style.

The fourth feature is “District Attorney”, about a fighting DA (do DAs ever get directly involved in police work in real life?). The art is less attractive in this one, but it has a topical story about con men preying on returned soldiers, and a gang violence element that reminds me of Dick Tracy (but if that was the inspiration, much toned down).

The final feature is “Marvin the Great”, a comedic piece about a henpecked man who’s received from Mars the power to turn into a kind of mini-Mars when he says the god’s name. The character and art are OK, but the story isn’t really funny. Marvin transforms after sitting down in his den with a book and closing his eyes as if his powers were really just a daydream, but the captions treat his powers as real. There are a couple of shots in the dialogue at superhero fight banter, which is interesting given the period.

The issue also has a one page gag story with unusually good art for such a piece. The text story strikes at anti-Jewish and anti-Negro prejudice.
I’ve read the contents from Blue Bolt v.1, #1, from 1940. It contained the following features.

"Blue Bolt": a college athlete survives a lightning strike, only to crash when lightning strikes his plane. He is revived by Dr. Bertoff, who harnesses the lightning in his body to give him superpowers. Bertoff’s intention is that he should lead his armies against the Green Sorceress, the despot of the underground world. Blue Bolt accepts this task, but he and the Sorceress are also romantically attracted to each other.

The first instalment of the title feature was by Joe Simon. At this point his art and storytelling were still pretty crude. Kirby joined Simon on the feature with the second issue. After they left successive changes were made to the feature.

Bolt appeared on the first three covers, then alternated with other features up to the seventh issue. After that he didn’t appear on the covers again (even though Simon and Kirby remained on the feature up to the tenth issue) until after he’d been taken out of his costume.

"Dick Cole, Wonder Boy": a student at a military academy, Cole is physically and mentally superior because he was left by his mother on the doorstep of a scientist in order that the scientist might apply his theories to him and make him a “perfect specimen of manhood.”

This was the feature most often cover-featured subsequently, although it didn’t usually hold the covers exclusively. It also appeared in 4 Most, and eventually in a Dick Cole title. The feature was created by Bob Davis, who (according to the GCD) remained on the feature into 1942. According to his Lambiek biography (here) he died that year in a car accident. In this instalment Davis’s storytelling is fluid and he poses his figures well. Cole is cheerful and confident.

"Page Parks, Air Hostess": apparently, this appeared in this issue only. The story concerns a twelve engine plane’s inaugural flight from San Francisco to Portugal. The crew have to deal with a rival concern’s attempts to prevent the flight from being successful. The story is a bit stiffly drawn and told.

"The Sub-Zero Man": this has lively art (it reminded me of Bill Everett’s) and gets off to a very lively start. On the way to Earth a Venusian ship passes through body composed of frozen gas. One member of the expedition survives, but the experience leave him transformed into a freezing cold form. He is well-intentioned, but keeps causing trouble as he cannot control the freezing effect. The text story also stars Sub-Zero and ends on a cliffhanger.

The strip is signed “Larry Antonette”: according to the GCD his work appeared in comics from several publishers. One of the illustrations accompanying the text story is signed “S.G.”: the GCD attributes them to Sam Glanzman.

His three cover appearances show him in a costume rather than his original icy form, so it may be he quickly gained control over the effect and became a more standard superhero. The feature appeared regularly in the title into the first half of 1943, and a couple of times thereafter.

"Sergeant Spook": after he accidentally causes an explosion resulting in his own death while engaged in forensic analysis policeman Sergeant Spook continues his investigation as a ghost.

A good premise, but so-so art and story. The feature appeared regularly in the title into 1948, and intermittently in its final year. Initially drawn by Malcolm Kildale.

“Old Cap Hawkin's Tales”: a lighthouse keeper retells an episode from US naval history to a boy he knows. The episode is the Battle of Lake Erie, from the War of 1812. The history is interesting but I thought the account could be clearer. The feature continued into 1945 and made a final appearance the following year. Initially drawn by Henry Kiefer.

“The White Rider and his Super Horse”: after his parents are killed in a stagecoach robbery, a boy, Peter, is raised in a hidden canyon by a hermit with a horse for a friend which he names Cloud. “Because of the extreme depth of the canyon, the pull of gravity is greater, with the result that boy and horse develop to a great degree.” After the death of the hermit Peter and Cloud leave the canyon and avenge the deaths of Peter’s parents. Peter adopts the identity of the White Rider. This is on the more crudely drawn side, but I liked the art in spots. The feature continued until late 1942.

“Pony Tracks”: comedic western, illustrated in a likeable bigfoot style by Jack A. Warren. Along the way this became “Krisco and Jasper”, and under this name the feature ran into 1947. To judge by their cover appearances the characters eventually joined the Navy.

“Edison Bell: Young Inventor”: a boy inventor and his pal cobble together a robot and animate it with lightning.

This feature also continued the title until the end, intermittently in the final year. It was sometimes cover-featured, and also appeared in 4 Most and Dick Cole.

“Runaway Ronson”: a steam engineer takes a new engine on its maiden journey across the US, determined to make the trip in record time. Agents of a business rival of his boss try to prevent this.

By Paul Gustavson, this has some of the best comic book storytelling in the issue.. The feature ran into 1941.

“Phantom Sub”: a group of young men secretly build a super-sub designed by a deceased inventor. A foreign power (clearly Germany), searching for them, discovers their island location just after the sub is completed. The young men evacuate the island after setting explosives to blow it up “to give us a chance to get away”, inadvertently killing a landing party. This leaves them outlaws.

The story is decently told, and comes to an interesting conclusion. By Bill O’Connor and Ben Flinton.

Toonopedia has articles on "Blue Bolt", "Dick Cole" and "Sgt. Spook", and I made use of them in writing this review, as well as the GCD.
Most recent:

Signal to Noise — Early Gaiman/McKean. I liked this; a filmmaker facing his last days conceives of a movie about a village in AD 999 preparing to face the end of the millennium and (they believe) the end of the world. I still find Dave McKean's art a little off-putting for narrative storytelling, but it worked here.

Batman & Robin #14-16 — Well, that was an exciting wrap-up to Morrison's 4+ year storyline. Can't wait to see where he takes it next!

Superman: New Krypton vol. 2 — Collecting issues of Superman, Action Comics, and Supergirl directly leading up to the World of New Krypton mini-series. As a story I'm able to read in one sitting, I really enjoy this; I'd've just hated to have to read it over the course of a year spread across four different titles.

And then I started reading Timestorm: 2009 - 2099; I'll keep with it, but I'm not super-keen on its re-writing of the 2099 universe so far. At the very least, I'm going to keep reading so I can see if there's a worthwhile explanation for why they're re-writing the 2099 universe.
I've been away from the board for a week or so, and here are the comics I've been reading:

FINISHED:
Blondie Dailies Vol. 1
Essential Tomb of Dracula Vol. 1
THUNDER Agents Archives Vols. 1-2

STARTED:
Li'l Abner Vol. 2
Essential Tomb of Dracula Vol. 2
THUNDER Agents Archives Vol. 3
At Fig's urging, I'm reading the JLA Rock of Ages TPB. Halfway through, I have no idea where it's going. It certainly is full of wild Morrison ideas! I'll be sure to head over to the Morrison thread when I'm done. It was odd to see Smurf Superman again (I actually read Superman comics during that era); and I have no history with Aztek.

Back at early Vertigo, I read the Prestige format one-shot Mercy, by J.M. DeMatteis & Paul Johnson. This is DeMatteis at his most mystical, but it does work as a story. Beautiful painted art by Johnson.

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