|"Know. See. Feel. Truth." from Captain Atom vol.3 #10 (DC, 2012) by J.T. Krul and Freddie Williams II|
Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Tuesday, October 30, 2012
|"Captain Atom Hands in His Resignation" from Captain Atom Annual #1 (DC, 1988) by Cary Bates, Greg Weisman, Pat Broderick and Bob Smith|
Monday, October 29, 2012
|"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|
Sunday, October 28, 2012
|"Dr. Evil" from Captain Action #4 (DC, 1969) by Gil Kane|
Posted by Siskoid at 7:58 AM
Saturday, October 27, 2012
|"Merlin's Scream" from Camelot 3000 #12 (DC, 1984) by Mike W. Barr, Brian Bolland and Terry Austin|
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.
Posted by Siskoid at 7:13 AM
Friday, October 26, 2012
|"What Might Have Been: Hippie Freaks" from Brother Power, the Geek #1 (DC, 1968) by Joe Simon and Al Bare|
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|
Wednesday, October 24, 2012
|"I Scream to Be Free" from Breach #3 (DC, 2005) by Bob Harras, Marcos Martin and Alvaro Lopez|
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" from The Brave and the Bold vol.3 #6 (DC, 2007) by Mark Waid, George Perez and Scott Koblish|
Monday, October 22, 2012
|"A Cannon for Batman" from The Brave and the Bold vol.1 #171 (DC, 1981) by Gerry Conway and José Luis Garcia Lopez|
Sunday, October 21, 2012
|"The Knights Wore Khaki" from Boy Commandos #2 (World's Best, 1943) by Jack Kirby and Joe Simon|
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|
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" from Booster Gold vol.1 #9 (DC, 1986) by Dan Jurgens and Mike DeCarlo|
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" from The Books of Magic vol.1 #3 (DC/Vertigo, 1991) by Neil Gaiman and Charles Vess|
*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" from The Book of Fate #4 (DC, 1997) by Keith Giffen, Ron Wagner and Bill Reinhold|
Tuesday, October 16, 2012
|"The Most Dreaded Place on Earth" from Bomba the Jungle Boy #5 (DC, 1968) by George Kashdan and Jack Sparling|
Monday, October 15, 2012
|"The Origin of Nebiros, Updated Edition" from Blue Devil #4 (DC, 1984) by Gary Cohn, Dan Mishkin, Paris Cullins and Gary Martin|
Sunday, October 14, 2012
|"What Would You Do?" from Blue Beetle vol.7 #15 (DC, 2007) by J. Torres and Freddie Williams II|
Saturday, October 13, 2012
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...
Posted by Siskoid at 8:01 AM
Friday, October 12, 2012
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
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
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
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
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).
Posted by Siskoid at 7:44 AM
Sunday, October 7, 2012
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
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
Thursday, October 4, 2012
"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
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" 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" 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.