Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Know. See. Feel. Truth.

"Know. See. Feel. Truth." from Captain Atom vol.3 #10 (DC, 2012) by J.T. Krul and Freddie Williams II
I was, I think, one of the few fans of the New52 version of Captain Atom, and I'm as surprised as you are about that given how critical I've been of Krul's writing in the past (and concurrently). His work, to me, has been either outrageously sensationalistic (Arsenal) or ordinary and dull (Green Arrow). Here, it's neither. Maybe it was more Doc Manhattan than it was Captain Atom in areas, but it was somewhat experimental, had a story to tell about yielding ultimate power, some really weird ideas about the Captain's future, and some really neat art by Williams. RIP Captain Atom volume 3.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Captain Atom Hands in His Resignation

"Captain Atom Hands in His Resignation" from Captain Atom Annual #1 (DC, 1988) by Cary Bates, Greg Weisman, Pat Broderick and Bob Smith
Though I stuck with Captain Atom through DC's entire 57-issue run, it's really the first 2½ years of the book, by Bates and Broderick that I love and still remember fondly. Captain Atom has a cool look, an at-the-time rare and intriguing connection to the U.S. military, a fake "public" origin that paid tribute to the Charlton original, his own Catwoman-type love interest in Plastique, a fish out of water element as he bounced to our time from the 60s, and actually fought villains adapted from his Charlton foes, as well as memorable new opponents created for the series, like Major Force (above). I'm still struck at how important Captain Atom became through the 80s. He commanded the superhero force in Invasion!, led Justice League Europe, and was to become Monarch in Armageddon 2001. That, sadly, even if it didn't actually happen, screwed up the character royally, something he never actually recovered from. Time for a reboot..? (See tomorrow.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Captain Atom: Always Been a Menace to Society

"Captain Atom: Always Been a Menace to Society" from Captain Atom vol.1 #83 (Charlton, 1966) by David A Kaler, Steve Ditko and Rocke Mastroserio
Like Blue Beetle, I first discovered Captain Atom in Modern Comics' reprints of 60s Charlton superhero fare. The first one I got my hands on was in fact Blue Beetle's first appearance in the back-up. It may seem like Captain Atom was around for a long long time when you note this series ended at #89, but in reality, he started out in Space Adventures for 8 issues, then moved to Strange Suspense Stories in that series' 75th issue, and THAT became Captain Atom with #78. So the Captain's original journey basically spans the period between 1960 and 1967 (still pretty good), with a couple appearances up through the early 80s. The origin isn't all that different from the one you know from the DC version(s), though the metal skin was something that evolved midway through his own title to protect people from his innate radioactivity.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Dr. Evil

"Dr. Evil" from Captain Action #4 (DC, 1969) by Gil Kane
For a bit of Captain Action vs. Superman action, see the splash from issue 1. Captain Action was an action figure of the 60s who could "turn into" other action figures, basically, including Spider-Man and Captain America, which wouldn't do for a DC comic, so that concept was entirely dropped from this version. Dr. Evil, his archenemy, was ALSO an action figure with "master of disguise" abilities, and it remains funny to me that despite looking like a gross alien, he was the Captain's father-in-law. Lasting only 5 issues in the 60s, the license was eventually taken up by Moonstone Comics in the late 2000s, but of course, the two comics series have nothing to do with one another. The Captain is still around, with toys still being developed and this year a pulp novel seeing publication. Nostalgia must be a strong factor, but having been born in the early 70s, I guess I just missed that window of fandom.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Merlin's Scream

"Merlin's Scream" from Camelot 3000 #12 (DC, 1984) by Mike W. Barr, Brian Bolland and Terry Austin
In their last Who's Who podcast, Firestorm Fan's Shag and Aquaman Shrine's Rob! talked about this famous 12-issue maxi-series, Rob! having read it and admired it, and Shag, like me, never having done so, but really interested in it while also avoiding any spoilers. On the one hand, it's Brian Bolland art and it looks amazing. On the other, it's written by Mike Barr who gave us the Outsiders! I realize that it's entirely possible for a writer to phone in some work-for-hire monthly business, while knocking it out of the park on an exciting project like this. But still, Mike Barr...

I do wonder if the Sir Tristan character, a male knight reincarnated as a woman, had any role to play in Grant Morrison's re-imagining of the Shining Knight as a gender-ambiguous character in his 7 Soldiers of Victory, an interpretation still appearing today in Demon Knights.

Friday, October 26, 2012

What Might Have Been: Hippie Freaks

"What Might Have Been: Hippie Freaks" from Brother Power, the Geek #1 (DC, 1968) by Joe Simon and Al Bare
Frankenstein's Monster by way of Silver Surfer's wandering philosopher and the whole hippie cultural phenomenon, Brother Power was almost called the Freak, but DC got cold feet because that name seemed to imply drug use (as opposed to eating the heads off live chickens). In any case, DC never really felt comfortable with a series that featured a "Psychedelic Circus" and a youth movement some editors equated with drugs, so they canned it after only two issues. Judging from a lot of 70s comics I've read, Brother Power was just a little bit ahead of his time, that's all.

The straw pacifist has since appeared many times, often as an inside joke, or else in darker, Vertigo form. Most recently (2009) he's appeared alongside Batman in a an issue of The Brave and the Bold.

Thursday, October 25, 2012


"Mars LIVES!" from Brightest Day #12 (DC, 2010) by Geoff Johns, Peter J. Tomasi, Patrick Gleason and Irwin
A dream sequence that sees Mars reborn is very representative of Brightest Day series/event. After all, whatever Brightest Day established, it was as fleeting at J'Onn J'Onzz's vision with the coming of the Flushpoint. What a waste of time this was. They took a whole year (the same with the JLI series on the off-weeks) setting up a new status quo for a number of resurrected stars, even left some threads dangling for upcoming projects. And then, pfft. A whole year setting up a new Aqualad - pffft. A whole year re-shuffling the identity of Firestorm and turning him into a time-bomb - pffft. Even the return of the Swamp Thing was immediately subverted by a mini-series in the Old52. Brightest Day really puts the lie to the idea that the New52 was well-planned ahead of time. Or if you're cynical about it, it was planned, but they still wanted your cash so made us believe this stuff was "important".

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

I Scream to Be Free

"I Scream to Be Free" from Breach #3 (DC, 2005) by Bob Harras, Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez
Never read it, but flipping through, it looks like a redress of the Captain Atom story. Let's look at Wikipedia... Ah! They confirm it. According to the online encyclopedia, though it was retooled to star a new character, the first issue calls him Major Adams (instead of Major Zanetti) a couple times. Oops! I'm only interested because, well, Marcos Martin art! Possibly because it WASN'T Captain Atom, it was cancelled after only 11 issues (as the New52 proved, a Captain Atom reboot can be expected to last to 13 issues. Cough.

Breach has appeared here and there since, in some form or other, dying in Infinite Crisis, zombie walking in Blackest Night, alternate Earthing in Arena, and Son of-ing in Superman's Project 7734 stuff.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Guest-Star Continuum

"The Guest-Star Continuum" from The Brave and the Bold vol.3 #6 (DC, 2007) by Mark Waid, George Perez and Scott Koblish
Skipping right over the forgettable 90s B&B mini-series, we get to a Waid/Perez revival in the late oughts. Instead of one-offs, the book's first year was dominated by a single arc through which various characters teamed up, often in a chain (A meets B, then in the next issue, B meets C, and so on). It was TOTALLY in the spirit of the original (and to some extent, the cartoon series of the same name), as discussed yesterday, with appearances by such varied characters as Supergirl, Lobo, the Legion, and the Boy Commandos. Great stuff. The series didn't do so well after Waid left, giving up the ghost at #35, by then limply written by boring old JMS.

Monday, October 22, 2012

A Cannon for Batman

"A Cannon for Batman" from The Brave and the Bold vol.1 #171  (DC, 1981) by Gerry Conway and José Luis Garcia Lopez
Running 200 issues between 1955 and 1983, The Brave and the Bold started out as an anthology series, briefly turned into a springboard for new superhero concepts (like the Justice League of America, Metamorpho and the Teen Titans), before resolving into Batman's team-up book. Over the years, the book had some seminal runs by Neal Adams and Jim Aparo, but my choice of splash (while by the superlative JLGL) is more based on the outrageousness of the chosen guest star. As I wrote in an article entitled Dynamic Duos: The Allure of the Team-Up Book, that is one of the elements that makes team-up books WORK. Scalphunter isn't just a hero from another time (the American Civil War), but a rather obscure one as well. That's what's so magical about a team-up book in a large and varied shared universe.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

The Knights Wore Khaki

"The Knights Wore Khaki" from Boy Commandos #2 (World's Best, 1943) by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon
Simon and Kirby had had some success following the sidekick trend with "kid gangs" comics, including the Sentinels of Liberty (AKA the Young Allies) for Timely, and then the Newsboy Legion at what would resolve into DC Comics, but the Boy Commandos would prove their most enduring hit in the genre. They started out in Detective, then moved to World's Finest, and soon got their own series in 1942. Believe it or not, they were part of DC's top three bestsellers, right behind Superman and Batman. The Boy Commandos took the fight to the Ratzies four years past the actual end of the war, and benefited, as you can see above, from Kirby's considerable imagination for mashing up all manner of material.

The most famous of the Boy Commandos? Brooklyn. Post-Crisis (and animated series) Superman fans know him better as "Terrible" Dan Turpin (who was drawn AS Kirby on the cartoon). The rest did appear as adults as well, in a short Blue Beetle (Ted Kord) arc. Not the same. The Superman books back then were really good at keeping Kirby's legacy alive (the Newsboys and Project Cadmus too).

Saturday, October 20, 2012


"Boo." from Booster Gold vol.2 #9 (DC, 2008) by Geoff Johns, Jeff Katz, Dan Jurgens and Norm Rapmund
A great badass (JLI) moment for Booster Gold in his most recent series, which turned the fact he was something of a joke to its advantage by making him "the greatest hero you've never heard of". Great tagline. Linking him to another favorite, Rip Hunter Time Master, was also a stroke of genius. For a couple years there, Booster was going back in time to DC's hot spots both to protect history and revisit cool old events (like DC One Million, to name one example), all under the cover of being a selfish screw-up so that no evil time traveler would know to try to bump him off as a baby. Rip's blackboard, full of teases for various upcoming stories all across the DCU, was a really cool feature, and great marketing too. So it's a great shame that the series was never allowed to run its course, and that apparently, Booster failed in his mission to protect continuity when Flashpoint happened. Especially given that the revelations about the link between Rip and Booster weren't explored fully or given closure.

Or is it not too late? The New52's JLI ended on a story featuring a time traveling Booster from the future, working with Rip Hunter, so... Could this be a way back into DC's former history? Is there a Booster Gold, out there, fighting to put back what has now gone wrong? Perhaps futilely? Or are they thinking of doing a New52 Booster Gold book with a similar set-up? With a history-less DCU, it's kind of hard to do that justice, though it could be used to fill in some gaps. What did YOU make of the JLI finale?

Friday, October 19, 2012

Dusk - Fragrance for Men

"Dusk - Fragrance for Men" from Booster Gold vol.1 #9 (DC, 1986) by Dan Jurgens and Mike DeCarlo
You're welcome, beefcake lovers!

Booster Gold was post-Crisis DC's first new star and I'm glad he's still around in roles of some importance today (well, until very recently at least). The selfish, marketing-conscious superhero truly is a product of the 80s, but truth be told, the idea hasn't fallen out of fashion 25 years later. The original series featured nice art and a great story up to about issue 21 (fighting the 1000, Booster's origin, and up through his sister's first appearance) before running out of steam. But by then, the call had likely been made. There were only 4 more issues, two of them Millennium (ugh) tie-ins.

At least Booster didn't slip into comic book limbo from there, joining Blue Beetle as the other half of the Justice League's best comedy double act. Tomorrow: A look at the latest Booster series.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Faerie Market

"Faerie Market" from The Books of Magic vol.1 #3 (DC/Vertigo, 1991) by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess
Before the Books of Magic was a MacGuffin in Justice League Dark, they were a Prestige format mini-series that had the Trenchcoat Brigade act as guides to magician-in-becoming Tim Hunter*, featuring gorgeous art by four painterly artists. Vess' issue, focusing on Faerieland, is perhaps the most like what the monthly series would be like. The Royal Court of Faerie in fact became regular supporting stars in the book, and even got mini-series of their own under The Books of Faerie heading. By then, I'd stopped reading, so I more or less missed out on developments in sequels like The Names of Magic, Age of Magic and The Books of Magick: Life During Wartime. Tim Hunter's made an appearance in the new DC, so his book might be tapped for a DC Dark title. I'd welcome it, because I think he would benefit from a more mainstream tone and format. The Vertigo series really struggled to find its legs, I seem to remember.

*And yes, The Books of Magic is why I never responded positively to Tim's clone Harry Potter. To me, the only thing that kept DC Comics from suing J.K.Rowling was that Warner Bros. was involved in both projects. Yes, I know Neil Gaiman later gave Harry his blessing - I'm not at all rational about this. Nor do I actually care. It's just that when people ask if I've read Harry Potter, I usually say something smart-alecky like "I liked it when it was called The Books of Magic".

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Image Is Everything

"Image Is Everything" from The Book of Fate #4 (DC, 1997) by Keith Giffen, Ron Wagner and Bill Reinhold
I was too much of a Dr. Fate fan to get into the new Fate book, or consequently, the follow-up "The Book of Fate". It's kind of funny to me that the caption on this Fate/Two-Face wrestling match is "Image is everything", because the Jared Stevens character always seemed to me like one of those 90s re-inventions that instantly turned me off. The Image Comics aesthetic of the time.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

The Most Dreaded Place on Earth

"The Most Dreaded Place on Earth" from Bomba the Jungle Boy #5 (DC, 1968) by George Kashdan and Jack Sparling
Bomba was a 1920s Tarzan rip-off set in South America featured in 20 boy's adventure books, a dozen movies between 1949 and 1955, and a 7-issue comic book series from DC Comics. The books were pretty overtly racist (the white Bomba has an "open soul" while dark-skinned natives have "closed" ones), but the comics are ok. After the series failed and the license lapsed, DC re-used some of the material with minor art and lettering changes for the Sinba back-up in their Tarzan comics. Waste not, want not.

Monday, October 15, 2012

The Origin of Nebiros, Updated Edition

"The Origin of Nebiros, Updated Edition" from Blue Devil #4 (DC, 1984) by Gary Cohn, Dan Mishkin, Paris Cullins and Gary Martin
I only bought the occasional issue of the DCU's "weirdness magnet" (a mantle later taken on by Animal Man), but given my tastes in comics today, I regret I wasn't more of a fan at the time. Ah well, now bargain bin favorites.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

What Would You Do?

"What Would You Do?" from Blue Beetle vol.7 #15 (DC, 2007) by J. Torres and Freddie Williams II
I've gotten the trades and expect to read the much-lauded (original) Jaime Reyes series as part of my Old52 reading experience (which I am late with because, damn it, WORK), but I've liked every appearance the character has made outside that series, whether that be guest appearances in other comics, his role in the awesome Brave and the Bold cartoon, or the hope he would star in a new Justice League International series (as Ted Kord's legacy) following Brightest Day. Of course, that chapter came to a close thanks to the Flushpoint, rebooting the Beetle in the New52 for no discernible reason (he was already young and inexperienced) and either retreading old ground or turning the Beetles into Lanterns. At least, as far as I can tell from perusing the present series on the stands. (In other words, I don't think it's necessary to splash volume 8 tomorrow.)

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Out From the Ashes

"Out From the Ashes" from Blue Beetle vol.6 #1 (DC, 1986) by Len Wein, Paris Cullins and Bruce D. Patterson

Ted Kord joined the DC Universe right after the Crisis with a two-year stint in his own book. This was a solid, if standard, superhero book written by Len Wein, with pleasant, friendly art by Paris Cullins (I didn't care as much for other artists). Wein was big on setting up future threats in subplot pages, sometimes to the book's detriment (some of these moved slow indeed), and he created lots of villains who would never appear anywhere else (Firefist, Overthrow, the Muse...). At least Carapax made it into the Suicide Squad. So not the most memorable run, but not terrible either. It had the distinction of taking place in Chicago, not a place previously explored much in the DCU, and it introduced DCU versions of the Question (as the Charlton series had, and before the dark, mature readers make-over) and the Golden Age Beetle. By the time Beetle's series was done for, he had already been inducted into the Justice League and was on the road to comedy gold...

Friday, October 12, 2012

Buggy Plans

"Buggy Plans" from Blue Beetle vol.4 #2 (Charlton, 1967) by Steve Ditko

My favorite Charlton era splash is actually his fight with the Squid, but I've already shown it on this blog. It was my first exposure to the Blue Beetle, actually in a Modern Comics reprint (in fact, the same flea market visit yielded both his first issue and his first appearance in Captain Atom). I found [reprints of] almost every issue (there weren't many), so you can well imagine I was surprised and happy to find Ted Kord in the DCU as of Who's Who and Crisis! But that's a much longer story... for tomorrow!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Introducing Sparky, Kinda

"Introducing Sparky, Kinda" from Blue Beetle vol.1 #14 (Holyoke, 1942) by Allen Ulmer

Until I started doing research on the Golden Age Blue Beetle, I did NOT know he had a sidekick! This is the first appearance of Sparky, on both this page and the issue's cover. HOWEVER, he was not allowed to join Blue Beetle Dan Garret until the NEXT issue, which is a pretty ridiculous scheduling snafu!

The original Blue Beetle was a relatively big deal in the 40s, spawning comic strips and a radio serial, but he fell on hard luck when his original publisher, Fox, collapsed and sold him off to Charlton. Charlton couldn't keep him in print either, and created a new version instead, which was in turn picked up by DC some time later. Though I'd seen the original Blue Beetle in Rovin's Encyclopedia of Superheroes, I never saw him in a story before he showed up in a couple of issues of DC's Blue Beetle. It was pretty exciting.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Switching Masks

"Switching Masks" from Blood of the Demon #4 (DC, 2005) by John Byrne, Will Pfeifer and Nekros

In the mid-00s, John Byrne, ever the Kirby fan, cooked up a short-lived and kinda really gory Demon series. Anyone read it and like it or not like it? I'm saving all my Demonic content for the Kirby and Alan Grant series. Because those ruled.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Enemy

"The Enemy" from Blitzkrieg #1 (DC, 1976) by Bob Kanigher and Ric Estrada

Blitzkrieg was a 5-issue attempt in 1976 to do a war comic that starred the soldiers of Nazi Germany, and not in a particularly good light (like, say, WWI's Enemy Ace) either. Another feature called The Huns looked at their Germanic ancestors and wasn't any sweeter to the German people. Still, nice art (and of course, Joe Kubert covers).

Monday, October 8, 2012

Just Resting Our Wings

"Just Resting Our Wings" from Blackhawks #8 (DC, 2012) by Mike Costa, Cafu and Bit

Remember when artists used to have full names? Anywho... In the New52, the Blackhawks were turned into a secret, international paramilitary organization, somewhere between Checkmate and Doctor Who's UNIT, which might have been a worthy expansion of the Blackhawks mythos, except that none of the characters were recognizable revamps of the original characters. It's like being a fan of some old tv series or movie, then seeing a remake of it featuring Brandan Fraser. The book didn't survive the first First Wave and ended at issue 8, but with a promise to return (above).

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Face It Blackhawks, You Just Hit the Jackpot

"Face It Blackhawks, You Just Hit the Jackpot" from Blackhawk vol.1 #133 (DC, 1959) by Dick Dillin and Charles Cuidera

One of the problems facing the Blackhawks, even under Quality Comics, was their divorce from the World War II era. As they headed into the 50s, their adventures became more and more ludicrous, and when DC got a hold of them in 1956, the company's brand of Silver Age madness took them more and more into the realm of science fiction (they basically became the Challengers of the Unknown with planes), at their most extreme, being turned into ridiculous superheroes (from #288 to #241). Among DC's contributions to the strip were the humanization of Chop-Chop and the character seen above in her first ever appearance, Lady Blackhawk! She would eventually become their coolest and most popular member.

Blackhawks ended in 1968 with #243, then briefly returned in the 70s (through #250), then again in the 80s (through #273), this time returning to the WWII adventures. This is when Blackhawk himself was reinvented as a Pole rather than an American. This was followed by a Howard Chaykin mini-series for mature readers, a look and premise (without adult elements) follow-up in Action Comics Weekly, which in turn continued in a short-lived series (once again "mature") in the 90s. Since then, appearances have been pretty meager, with the exception of Zinda's as a member of the Birds of Prey. So here's to Lady Blackhawk!

Saturday, October 6, 2012

The Blackhawks vs. the Iron Emperor

"The Blackhawks vs. the Iron Emperor" from Blackhawk vol.1 #42 (Quality, 1951) by Reed Crandall

Did you know the Blackhawks were co-created by Will Eisner, and had both a movie serial and a radio series? Certainly one of the more marketable concepts of the Golden Age! While the Blackhawks were, I think, pretty unusual for Golden Age war comics in that the team featured representatives of different allied nations AND INDEED its leader wasn't an American, but rather, Polish (or more exactly, he WAS identified as American early on, but that changed in the 80s). Unfortunately, it doesn't mean the book's original creators portrayed each of those nationalities with sensitivity, as can be seen with the Chinese character Chop-Chop, clearly a racist caricature. Sure, Andre the Frenchman has a stereotypical thin mustache and love or women, but that's hardly on the same level.

Quality Comics actually premiered Blackhawk in Military Comics (1941), which became Modern Comics before its cancellation in 1950. In '44, in any case, they started publishing a dedicated Blackhawk book, which Quality would publish for 5 issues more than Military/Modern (to #107) before the company folded. No worries, DC would integrate the book into its own releases and even keep the numbering. (To be continued...)

Friday, October 5, 2012

The Suicided Squad

"The Suicided Squad" from Blackest Night #4 (DC, 2009) by Geoff Johns, Ivan Reis, Oclair Albert and Joe Prado

Blackest Night or Marvel Zombies? There can only be one.

(I ask the question, but I already know the answer.)

Thursday, October 4, 2012

The Orchids

"The Orchids" from Black Orchid vol.1 #3 (DC/Vertigo, 1989) by Neil Gaiman and Dave McKean

I first caught sight of Black Orchid in Who's Who and was immediately intrigued. So I was pretty tickled to see her show up in Suicide Squad! Alas, her story pretty much ended when Neil Gaiman gave her the Vertigo treatment (before the word Vertigo was coined), turning her into a female version of Swamp Thing, a human flower. The Dave McKean art was beautiful, but I still felt like we lost a cool character. And still, I got every issue of the Vertigo monthly that followed (by writer Dick Foreman), from some kind of Vertigo or Black Orchid loyalty, but the fact I've wiped almost everything about it from my mind can be taken as an indictment.

So as you can guess, I'm rather stoked that the Orchid is back in play in Justice League Dark, and in her original(?) form too.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Praying Angel of Death

"The Praying Angel of Death" from Black Magic #3 (DC, 1974), originally published in Black Magic # 9 (Prize, 1952) by Joe Simon and Jack Kirby

When I was a kid who only really read French, my mom used to get me these Jumbo superhero books, which reprinted in black and white (and in French) a number of DC and Marvel comics, more or less randomly. The same book might have an issue of the Flash right next to Thor or Hands of Shang-Chi Master of Kung Fu. In between the superhero "chapters" were short horror tales from a number of sources like House of Mystery/Secrets and I BELIEVE Black Magic. At least, I seem to remember the look of these Simon & Kirby stories. I never appreciated these dark, twisted tales at age 10. At age 41, I'm pretty happy they can be found in a 70s reprint book!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Action Comics Starring Black Lightning

"Action Comics Starring Black Lightning" from Black Lightning vol.2 #5 (DC, 1995) by Tony Isabella and Eddy Newell

Is there a Black Lightning curse? Maybe the ghost of the distasteful Black Bomber he replaced? I only ask because he's had a pretty bad publishing track record. The first series fell victim to the DC implosion before its last issue saw print. Lightning then squandered his shot at joining the Justice League and was instead inducted in the Outsiders, a series I think I poke fun at with reason. And then he scored a second monthly, again by Isabella who was fired after 8 issues. He claimed, on Newsarama, that the editor did so to bring in another writer and consolidate his power base at DC Comics. Whatever the truth, the book folded after 5 more issues. And the more recent Year One mini by Jen Van Meter and Cully Hamner? I really liked it, but of course, like all the Year Ones that came out around 2009, it was all for naught because of the reboot. Black Lightning has yet to show up in the New52. Static filled his niche, I guess, but his was one of the series axed at issue 8...

Monday, October 1, 2012

Spider-Man and the Kingpin--No, Wait

"Spider-Man and the Kingpin--No, Wait" from Black Lightning vol.1 #8 (DC, 1978) by Tony Isabella, Trevor von Eeden and Vince Colletta

You gotta admit. Black Lightning is in an odd pose (for him), and Tobias Whale is the Kingpin type! Easy mistake to make!

As the story goes, DC's first African-American headliner was going to be the Black Bomber, a white racist only posing as a black man, and offensive on about every level. When the editor responsible left the company, writer Tony Isabella jumped in and convinced the powers that be that his creation, Black Lightning, was a much better way to go. They paired him up with a 16-year-old African-American artist called Trevor von Eeden and a legend was born. And then was cancelled 11 issues in, though the 12th issue did eventually see print in a couple of anthology comics. Even so, Black Lightning would live on, first in World's Finest and Detective back-ups, then after refusing the join the Justice League, in the Outsiders (yeah I know, not much of a life, but he was definitely one of the better characters in there) and eventually get enough traction for another solo book... but that's tomorrow's tale.