Tuesday, December 31, 2013

New New Titans Together

"New New Titans Together" from Teen Titans vol.3 #99 (DC, 2011) by J.T. Krul, José Luis, Greg Adams and J.P. Mayer
Though it lasted 100 issues, I consistently heard bad things about this book, so stayed well away, picking up only the last couple issues because finally, it was getting good reviews. I was out of comics for Geoff Johns' 45 first issues, but I never hear anyone name TT as one of his good works (as opposed to Hawkman or JSA). Sean McKeever's run was panned. Is this franchise now writer-proof, i.e. can no one write a good Titans comic. So it's very strange to me that anyone (myself included) could enjoy J.T. Krul's issues when the guy had infuriated fandom with his Arsenal story not long before. But feel free to sell me on some early arc I'm not aware of.

Monday, December 30, 2013

Copyright Infringement

"Copyright Infringement" from Teen Titans vol.2 #4 (DC, 1997) by Dan Jurgens and George Perez
After New Teen Titans' star a long waned, the book was cancelled and replaced by an entirely-new team, which is always dangerous. Like the Justice League franchise, the title evoked a collection of heroes who had left their mark elsewhere. New Teen Titans had managed an "All-New, All-Different X-Men" success with a strong mix of new characters, but Argent, Risk, et al. are nowhere near as iconic as Cyborg, Starfire and Raven, and lacked the support of well-established characters like Nightwing, Wonder Girl and Changeling. My particular interest in the book was two-fold. First, the Atom, though turned into a teenager by Zero Hour shenanigans, was a favorite character of mine, and the only established star, and Dan Jurgens as writer/artist couldn't help but do a solid job. But despite links to the Titans' past, like a reformed Mad Mod and various villains and guest-stars from the Titans world, the new characters just couldn't grab the public's attention. And I do mean COULDN'T. Soon, "The Titans" was in the wings.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Requiem for a Titan

"Requiem for a Titan" from Teen Titans vol.1 #14 (DC, 1968) by Bob Haney and Nick Cardy
I came into contact with the original Titans strip through Showcase Presents and fell in love with it. It was even a major part of Siskoid's Blog of Geekery my first year. All that Bob Haney craziness. That beautiful Nick Cardy art. Simply loved it. It is easily my favorite iteration of the Titans, and I like how the cartoon show owed at least as much to it as it did Marv Wolfman's New TT.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Baby of Donna Troy

"The Baby of Donna Troy" from Team Titans #3 (DC, 1992) by Marv Wolfman, Kevin Maguire and Will Blyberg
If New Teen Titans had become the hit it was in the early 80s TODAY, everything would be Titan this and Titan that. As it was, the book merely went to Baxter format while the other ongoing told a few less important stories before turning into a newsstand reprint, and Teen Titans Spotlight told solo tales of varying quality, but another spin-off wouldn't happen until the early 90s when the Titans' star was already well waning. And what a spin-off it was! By which I mean, how AWFUL. Cookie-cutter Titans from the future, introduced in Armageddon 2001 and with no real reason for being, erased from continuity a couple years later by Zero Hour. Not even Donna Troy jumping the shark like a sitcom could save this one.

Friday, December 27, 2013

More Wildstorm Than DC

"More Wildstorm Than DC" from Team 7 #7 (DC, 2013) by Justin Jordan, Tony Bedard and Pascal Alixe
The NAME of this short-lived New52 series (but aren't they all still "short-lived" at this point?) is that of a Wildstorm book (anything for Jim Lee to get paid extra), and a lot of its members are too - Fairchild, Grifter, Mr. Majestic, and John Lynch - with DC stars along for the ride - Black Canary, Amanda Waller, Steve Trevor and Deathstroke. Set before the events of "5 years ago" (i.e. Justice League #1), it joins Stormwatch in telling us the new DCU, young and fresh as it is, used to be the Wildstorm Universe behind the scenes. And I'm not sure I like these plug-ins having a longer tradition and history than DC's brightest stars. In fact, I know I don't.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Tarzan Eats Crocodiles for Breakfast

"Tarzan Eats Crocodiles for Breakfast" from Tarzan #211 (DC, 1972) by Joe Kubert and Burne Hogarth
Issue 211 makes it sound like Tarzan had a huge run at DC, but they picked up the numbering from Gold Key at #207. Still, they kept the license for some 6 years after that, also publishing Korak, Son of Tarzan, which later became Tarzan Family.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Beware Santa!

"Beware Santa!" from Ambush Bug Stocking Stuffer #1 (DC, 1986) by Keith Giffen, Robert Lauren Fleming and Bob Oksner
Bonus Splash! Merry Christmas!

Tangent Green Lantern

"Tangent Green Lantern" from Tangent Comics: Green Lantern (Tangent, 1997) by James Robinson, J.H. Williams III and Mick Gray
I was a fan of the Tangent idea (the first series anyway) - making comics with names that were very familiar from (mostly) the Silver Age, but with all-new characters. The Green Lantern (above) as a horror anthology host. The Flash as a shiny teenage superhero in the style of Clueless. The Joker as a troublemaking female hero. The Metal Men as a team of mercenary soldiers. The Doom Patrol, heroes from a potential future in our time to try to stop doomsday from happening. The Atom as a powerful atomic hero. Nightwing as a shadowy team dealing with the supernatural. The Sea Devils, mer-people created by a nuclear exchange. The Secret Six, a covert superhero team, including some who have their own series. The second series chose to create a Superman, a Batman and a Wonder Woman, big names that I felt broke away from the premise.

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

My Stuff!

"My Stuff!" from Talon #2 (DC, 2013) by Scott Snyder, James Tynion IV, Juan José Ryp and Vincente Cifuentes
The Court of Owls event was a success, so of course it needed a spin-off. I wonder if Year Zero will too. To me, the "Talons" (good or bad) were never all that interesting. It seemed a great opportunity to introduce an Earth-1 Owl-Man to the DCU, and maybe put to rest the damn Crime Syndicate... So much for that. The Talon series itself just prolonged the already interminable Court of Owls, so I gave it a pass after some sampling.

Monday, December 23, 2013

A Spaceman-at-Work Feature

"A Spaceman-at-Work Feature" from Tales of the Unexpected vol.1 #80 (DC, 1963) by Jack Miller and George Roussos
In response to the newly-minted Comics Code Authority, DC started this anthology ("Unexpected" wasn't one of the forbidden words) of science fiction short stories. It premiered such DC "stars" as Space Ranger, Automan and the Green Glob. Yeah, the Green Glob. I wonder where THAT Who's Who entry went to.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Wedding of Donna Troy - Mother of the Bride

"The Wedding of Donna Troy - Mother of the Bride" from Tales of the Teen Titans #50 (DC, 1985) by Marv Wolfman, George Perez, Mike DeCarlo and Dick Giordano
Like Legion of Super-Heroes, Titans became "Tales of..." when the Baxter series popped up, featured some original stories for about a year, then turned into a reprint book. That Donna Troy's wedding was in Tales and not the pricier, more exclusive book is a small marvel. It remains one of superhero comics' most praised single issues.

Saturday, December 21, 2013

Oliver Queen's Descendent - Tour Guide

"Oliver Queen's Descendent - Tour Guide" from Tales of the Legion of Super-Heroes vol.2 #320 (DC, 1985) by Paul Levitz, Mindy Newell, Dan Jurgens and Karl Kesel
Oh how the mighty legacy hath fallen. Yes, that's actually Oli 3 Queen, who appeared a couple times giving tours of Metropolis in the 30th century, his genetic heritage confirmed in that story where someone was trying to kill the descendents of the Justice League (after all, he could have just been Warlord's descendent). This, from Takes of the LSH, which was the retitling of the newsstand Legion book when the LSH went direct sales only. Tales went a year with new stories (which is more or less when I started getting into the Legion seriously), and then reprinted the Baxter series a year behind the original publishing date. It wasn't without its problems (they never reprinted the death of Superboy, for example), but I was glad to have Tales in my podunk town miles and miles from the nearest comic book shop.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Final Night Kaiju

"Final Night Kaiju" from Takion #6 (DC, 1996) by Paul Kupperberg, Aaron Lopresti, Jordi Ensign and Phyllis Novin
The ugly stepchild of the Fourth World, the Source probably should have kept to sending Highfather fiery emails instead of incarnating itself into some dim human dude. After 7 issues, it clearly was not working and got mercifully cancelled. Still, early Aaron Lopresti art.

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Mistress of Gemstones

"Mistress of Gemstones" from Sword of Sorcery vol.2 #8 (DC, 2013) by Christie Marx, Aaron Lopresti, Travis Moore and John Livesay
I was happy to see Amethyst back in the DCU - although it's very odd to have guest star in Justice League Dark - and in general, that the New52 would give shelf space to non-superhero comics (heck, I'll take non-Batman comics!). However, since none of those series except the Gotham-centric All Star Western have lasted any length of it, SoS (ha!), like the war comics, feel like exercises in copyright renewal. Amethyst was backed-up in the series by new versions of Beowulf and Stalker, neither of which grabbed my attention. If DC had had real faith in this series, they could have drawn upon much bigger names like Warlord, Arion and Arak.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Young Fafhrd vs. the Midgard Serpent

"Young Fafhrd vs. the Midgard Serpent" from Sword of Sorcery vol.1 #4 (DC, 1973) by Denny O'Neil and Walt Simonson
When the New52 came out with a Sword of Sorcery, I thought the name was really peculiar (why not Sword AND Sorcery, for example), but it's an old DC title! For five whole issues, comics greats-in-becoming like Denny O'Neil, Walt Simonson and Howard Chaykin lent their pens to new adventures for Fritz Leiber's popular fantasy anti-heroes, Fafhrd and the Gray Mouser. No Young Mouser tales as far as I know though.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Or You Could Just Come as Betty and Veronica

"Or You Could Just Come as Betty and Veronica" from Swing with Scooter #24 (DC, 1970) by Henry Scarpelli (writer unknown)
And here I thought Binky was DC's Archie rip-off...

Monday, December 16, 2013

Gray Loves Green

"Gray Loves Green" from Swamp Thing vol.5 #4 (DC, 2012) by Scott Snyder, Marco Rudy and Michael Lacombe
So DC took Swamp Thing out of Vertigo, returned Alec Holland/Classic Swamp Thing to the DCU in Brightest Day, then brought them back AGAIN in a pointless mini-series, only to bring them back YET AGAIN as the DCU rebooted into the New52. Frustrating. The good news is that despite some over-long story arcs under Scott Snyder, the book has been remarkably good. Snyder's run tested my patience while the Thing fought the Rot for two years, but the art by Yannick Paquette and others (like Rudy, above) was splashy and beautiful. Charles Shoule has lately brought shorter arcs (that fit into the larger story) and a lot of black comedy to the book, and I'm enjoying the character more than I have since the 90s.

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Swamp Thing Mountain

"Swamp Thing Mountain" from Swamp Thing vol.4 #1 (Vertigo, 2004) by Andy Diggle and Enrique Breccia
Swamp Thing's fourth volume featured story arcs by Andy Diggle, Will Pfeifer and Joshua Dysart, and brought the elemental back to his roots (while Tefé was rendered powerless). Over its last year, the series actually dealt with the aftermath of hurricane Katrina. Given that I discovered all these writers later, I'm thinking of checking these storylines out at some point in the future.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Green Architecture

"Green Architecture" from Swamp Thing vol.3 #2 (Vertigo, 2000) by Brian K. Vaughan, Roger Petersen and Joe Rubinstein
Vaughan's short-lived Swamp Thing series was really more about Tefé, magically aged-up and an avatar of both the Green and the Flesh. I don't know very much about it.

Friday, December 13, 2013

The Parliament of Worlds

"The Parliament of Worlds" from Swamp Thing vol.2 #171 (Vertigo, 1996) by Mark Millar, Phil Hester and Kim DeMulder
From issue 31, Saga of the Swamp Thing lost the three first words of the title, and remained, simply, Swamp Thing until its cancellation at #171. So where in that very long run would I go for a splash page? After the title change, Alan Moore continued his seminal run for almost three more years. Rick Veitch then did a couple years, including if I remember correctly, the Green's battle with the Gray. That storyline was reprised in the New52 as Swampy's fight with the Rot, and funnily enough, the run ended in a very New52 way, with the writer quitting because of editorial interference (DC refused to publish an issue that featured Jesus as a character despite approving the script ahead of time). Then, a period when people weren't really reading Swamp Thing anymore, followed by horror novelist Nancy A. Collins who went to a mix of horror tropes and family drama (by then, Alec and Abby had conceived a daughter, Tefé). Though I dutifully read this run, it was mostly because I was reading anything Vertigo, and the run was never that interesting to me. So it had to be the final run, written by Mark Millar and possibly ghost-written/plotted by Grant Morrison, with art by Phil Hester that proves to be a surprising favorite. A lot of weirdness, of course, but also an epic final arc in which Swamp Thing defeats the champions of various "Parliaments" and takes on their duties until he becomes the Earth's sole elemental and gets invited to the Parliament of Worlds. A great idea, and a great way to the series, it inspired one of my "Bubble World" articles, so here's that splash again.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Un-Men at the Foot of Arcane Castle

"Un-Men at the Foot of Arcane Castle" from Swamp Thing vol.1 #2 (DC, 1972) by Len Wein and Berni Wrightson
We tend to talk about Swamp Thing as if it started and ended with Alan Moore, but I'm not gonna feature any Moore at all over the next 5 splashes (for Moore, still check out Saga of the Swamp Thing). Truth be told, most of the horror elements that are still around today were introduced in the original 70s series - the creepy villains, the body horror, the lush gloomy vegetation... That all premiered more than a decade earlier.

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

New Krypton

"New Krypton" from Superman: World of New Krypton #2 (DC, 2009) by James Robinson, Greg Rucka and Pete Woods
While we can (rightly) criticize Superman's absence from Earth for a year while other characters took over his books (Mon-El, Nightwing & Flamebird, etc.), I DID like the New Krypton storyline. Kal-El as a member of the Kryptonian military/security forces, serving under Zod no less, was a great hook, and besides, those other heroes on Earth got some very engaging stories they would not otherwise have been allowed to have (I doubt they could have carried their own books for a year). I also dig how all the Kryptonian styles we've seen over the years are represented in New K's caste structure. It's what happened with Superman afterwards that creates bitterness for the year of WNK, because Superman ONCE AGAIN left Metropolis to walk across the United States. Not what was required after such a long story arc away.

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Wonder Woman Vs. Doomsday

"Wonder Woman Vs. Doomsday" from Superman/Wonder Woman #1 (DC, 2013) by Charles Soule, Tony Daniel and Matt Banning
Is this a scene from the upcoming DC film? I'm not a fan of the Superman-Wonder Woman relationship, but I still really wanted to like this series because I AM a fan of Soule's work. The action beats work, and Soule is the first writer to use the characters from Azzarello's Wonder Woman series (to date, practically a world isolated from the rest of the New52), but the relationship stuff just doesn't work. Pretty art, but way too splash-happy (despite this blog's focus, I'd rather comics not be one splash after another). I won't be getting the third issue.

Monday, December 9, 2013

Secret Satellite Folds

"Secret Satellite Folds" from Superman Unchained #1 (DC, 2013) by Scott Synder, Jim Lee and Scott Williams
I think I said my piece on this series when I reviewed its first issue on the Blog of Geekery. You're welcome to check it out.

Sunday, December 8, 2013


"Sunbathing" from Superman: The Man of Tomorrow #13 (DC, 1999) by Louise Simonson, Paul Ryan and Dennis Janke
From 1995 on, Superman became a true weekly with the addition of this quarterly book to fill the gaps left by 5-Wednesday months. It kind of wanted to show stand-alone stories, many of them focusing on Lex Luthor, but continuity did intrude, since the books were basically a serial with four writers, a couple of which contributed to the more infrequent title (like Stern and Simonson).

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Superman's Funeral Procession

"Superman's Funeral Procession" from Superman: The Man of Steel #20 (DC, 1993) by Louise Simonson, Jon Bogdanove and Dennis Janke
Created when Superman finally went weekly, it still had its own unique identity thanks to the gooey art of Jon Bogdanove and the Marvelized soapiness Louise Simonson used to bring to X-Factor and Power Pack. It kept its flavor, I think, more consistently than the other books, and was Steel's first home as well. A great later-DC creation. Of course, Superman had to die before that happened, ergo his funeral.

Friday, December 6, 2013

Transilvane, a Real World with Real People

"Transilvane, a Real World with Real People" from Superman's Pal Jimmy Olsen #143 (DC, 1971) by Jack Kirby and Vince Colletta
Jimmy Olsen is an important series to me. It's how I track when the Silver Age ended and the Bronze Age started. Corroborating evidence.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Slash Option: Lois Lane/Comet the Super-Horse

"Slash Option: Lois Lane/Comet the Super-Horse" from Superman's Girl Friend Lois Lane #92 (DC, 1969) by Leo Dorfman, Curt Swan and Mike Esposito
Oh Lois...

Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Superman Is Saving... Something

"Superman Is Saving... Something" from Superman Family Adventures #6 (DC, 2012) by Art Baltazar and Franco
Yeah, more a pin-up or activity, but Superman Family Adventures didn't do splash pages and I really, really wanted to include the series in this survey. When it started, I wasn't sure it was up to replacing the much beloved Tiny Titans, but within a few issues, I think it was actually the superior book. More story-driven than TT, SFA became wilder and wilder as the run went on, and introduced character dynamics that seemed completely original and fun, like Lois knowing full well who Superman was but playing along, and Jor-El and Lara getting resurrected! A book I miss!

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Love and the Single Dog

"Love and the Single Dog" from Superman Family #183 (DC, 1977) by Bob Toomey, J. Calnan and Tex Blaisdell
Jimmy Olsen's book was turned into a giant-sized anthology, at first heavy on the reprints, but eventually offering all-new material featuring Supergirl, Lois Lane and Jimmy Olsen. But those weren't the interesting strips. No, the coolest material was such shorter-lived strips as those enjoyed by Krypto (above), Flamebird & Nightwing in Kandor, and Mr. and Mrs. (Golden Age) Superman.

Monday, December 2, 2013

They Meet

"They Meet" from Superman Confidential #2 (DC, 2007) by Darwyn Cooke and Tim Sale
Superman's answer to Confidential/Classified books enjoyed by other franchises like Batman and the Justice League, it featured discreet arcs by rotating creative teams about Superman's early days, in continuity, but not in sequence, so to speak. Unlike other franchises' more successful attempts, it only managed 14 issues. And yet, people like Darwyn Cooke, Tim Sale, Gray & Palmiotti, DnA and Phil Hester all contributed. Oh well.

Sunday, December 1, 2013


"Supermen/Batmen" from Superman/Batman #25 (DC, 2006) by Jeff Loeb, Ed McGuinness and Dexter Vines
I got in late on this series thanks to some cool arcs written by the likes of Chris Roberson and Josh Fialkov. The stuff by Loeb was mocked so much on the Internet, I just couldn't get myself to pick it up early on, though I do admit his run had a way with crazy kitchen sink fanwankery that could make it a classic the same way Bob Haney's Brave and the Bold or Weisinger's Silver Age Superman are.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Trapped in the Phantom Zone

"Trapped in the Phantom Zone" from Superman Adventures #22 (DC, 1998) by Mark Millar, Aluir Amancio and Terry Austin
Yeah, Mark Millar used to write all-ages comics, and pretty good ones too. I was a huge fan of the Superman Animated series and of the WB Animated DC Universe as a whole, and am not ashamed to tell you I got Superman Adventures every month, right alongside Superman's in-continuity books, and even after I'd dropped them. At 66 issues, the tie-in book lasted 2½ years longer than the TV series (which is a shame for the underrated TV series) and was filled with fun stories, often serving as sequels to those of the show, return engagements for villains and the like, as well as animated versions of beloved Silver or Bronze Age stories (they did Kryptonite No More, for example). Need to reread some of these to cleanse my Super-palate, I think.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Break Through the Anguish

"Break Through the Anguish" from Superman vol.3 #10 (DC, 2012) by Dan Jurgens and Jesus Merino
George Perez couldn't make the New52 Superman work, at least in part because of the editorial interference he suffered and which made him rather publicly leave the book. But we tend to forget Dan Jurgens who actually did, in my opinion, make the character work before corporate yes-man Scott Lobdell took over and immediately made ME leave a book. Maybe Jurgens was making him too much like his pre-52 self, I don't know, but solid, positive superhero action (and art) is not what DC was after here. So cue thoughtless nonsense, omnipotent characters coming out of nowhere like Dr. Veritas, incessant crossover events, and whatever else the Masters wanted out of the comic that was about to give birth to a massive film.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

X-Ray Vision Gone Wrong

"X-Ray Vision Gone Wrong" from Superman vol.2 #10 (DC, 1987) by John Byrne and Karl Kesel
Whoa Clark, good thing your X-Ray vision wasn't accidentally at a lower setting! I was a huge fan of John Byrne's Superman reboot, fan enough that I stuck around until around issue 100, through a number of artists and writers, reading all four connected Superman books through the entire era.

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

20,000 Leagues Under the Sea With Superman

"20,000 Leagues Under the Sea With Superman" from Superman vol.1 #81 (National, 1953) by Bill Woolfolk and Al Plastino
Comics legend Al Plastino passed away the day before yesterday, and since he was one of the most prolific Superman (and Superboy) artists during the 50s, I knew I had to show one of his splashes from the era. In addition to his Superman comics work, he also worked on the newspaper strip (and Batman's as well). Famously, he drew the first Legion of Super-Heroes story, and the Parasite's first appearance as well. Infamously, he was hired to redraw the faces of Superman and Jimmy Olsen on Kirby's early issues of the latter's series.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Dominator Mech

"Dominator Mech" from Supergirl and the Legion of Super-Heroes #26 (DC, 2007) by Mark Waid, Barry Kitson and Mick Gray
Volume 5 of the Legion of Super-Heroes turns into Supergirl and the LSH with #16, reverting only to its original name upon her departure as of #38. I missed most of this first time around (because I was out of comics entirely), but am now assembling this run which looks to be a lot of fun. Mark Waid's Supergirl AND Legion? It's worth a shot.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Raging Supergirls

"Raging Supergirls" from Supergirl vol.6 #22 (DC, 2013) by Michael Alan Nelson, Diogenes Neves and Marc Deering
I've tries three times now to get into New52 Supergirl, mostly because I want to support iconic female superhero books, but DC makes it very hard. I tried the first issue, of course, but it was a return to rage-filled teenage girl, something that was done in volume 5, and I wasn't interested in her slugging it out with her cousin. The Silver Banshee issue made me look, but it wasn't enough to get me back in. Then Power Girl, a favorite character, showed up, and those issues were a scream. So I stuck with it, and Supergirl had mellowed since the first ish, and then, well, a new Cyborg Superman that's her dad (or something) and we're off into Villains Month and so on. I'm out again.

And those knee holes? Nonsense. The crotch patch? Extra terrible.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

For Bizarro World!

"For Bizarro World!" from Supergirl vol.5 #57 (DC, 2010) by Sterling Gates and Bernard Chang
The fifth volume of Supergirl, this time starring the real Kara Zor-El, didn't start off on the right foot, with over-sexualized art and Jeph Loeb, whose cred had been dwindling, on story. I skipped it. Four years later, good buzz about Sterling Gates' take on the character just as I got interested in Superman again, allowed me to give Supergirl another shot and I was pleased by what I saw. Gates' stories were solid and fun, and Kara was a positive character. The last couple arcs, by James Peatty and then Kelly Sue DeConnick, actually sent the character in what I felt was where she should have been all along. Supergirl undercover in college was especially keen. So of course, Flushpoint had to puy an end to it.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

The Supergirl Constellation

"The Supergirl Constellation" from Supergirl vol.4 #51 (DC, 2000) by Peter David, Leonard Kirk and Robin Riggs
After decades of "writing Supergirl stories is too hard", leading to the character's death in Crisis following a movie appearance, Peter David finally had a hit with, well, not Kara Zor-El, but Linda Danvers at least. This was the Matrix Supergirl created by John Byrne, who had rebooted Superman to be the VERY last survivor of Krypton. I don't know if I have the capacity to explain this version without it sounding like a 90s X-Men comic, but basically, she's an artificial protoplasmic creature from a pocket universe Earth based on Lana Lang but having adopted the Supergirl identity. Under Peter David, she was fused with a dead teenager, bad girl Linda Danvers, and acquired angelic powers. The series has strong thematic underpinnings about identity and resurrection, which eventually, near the end of the 80-issue run, all by David, brings the "real" Supergirl (Kara) into the mix. It might just be one of the great comic book novels of the 90s (by which I mean huge runs by the same writer) and certainly the best sustained effort on a Supergirl title.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Supergirl vs. Blackstarr

"Supergirl vs. Blackstarr" from Supergirl vol.2 #14 (DC, 1983) by Paul Kupperberg, Carmine Infantino and Bob Oksner
When Daring New Adventures of Supergirl wasn't new anymore, and not so daring I guess, it turned into Supergirl vol.2 (from #14-23). If it lasted that long, it's probably because the Supergirl movie would soon come out, but neither the book, nor the film were very good. Because I've only ever had dim memories of the movie, I'd always connected its villain, Selena, with Blackstarr, which I only really knew from Who's Who, though they have nothing to do with one another. The weird connections kids make in their heads.

Thursday, November 21, 2013


"Super-Medusa" from Supergirl vol.1 #8 (DC, 1973) by Cary Bates and Art Saaf
It took 13 years of appearances in Action Comics for Supergirl to get her own series, and it was basically the story of the world's most powerful girl struggling to get dates. And Silver Age stylings like the above. Even a Zatanna back-up couldn't save this kitschy book, and it was merged into Superman Family after a mere 10 issues.

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

The Rave

"The Rave" from Superboy and the Ravers #5 (DC, 1997) by Karl Kesel, Steve Mattson, Paul Pelletier and Dan Davis
The 90s Superboy also hung out with a team, the Ravers, all new characters who frequented an interdimensional rave that changed locales every time you went. It was a rather fun book that actually did something with Dial H for Hero AND Rex the Wonder Dog, but most stories weren't particularly memorable, and once Pelletier left, the art went south very quickly indeed.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Chemical King's Funeral

"Chemical King's Funeral" from Superboy and the Legion of Super-Heroes #229 (DC, 1977) by Paul Levitz, James Sherman and Jack Abel
The transition period when Superboy was losing his book to the Legion through the 70s saw a lot of all-star creators work on the title. Cary Bates and Dave Cockrum were the initial team, with Cockrum redesigning the future before leaving to give the X-Men a famous All-New All-Different treatment. He was replaced by future star Mike Grell, who was joined by Jim Shooter. And in the last few years before Superboy was dropped from the title, the under-valued Jim Sherman came on, working with Paul Levitz, who would go on to write more Legion stories than any other person in history. One of Levitz' first moves was to kill off Chemical King, to replace him with Dawnstar. I think we came out ahead.

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Superman Family in the New 52

"The Superman Family in the New 52" from Superboy vol.5 #0 (DC, 2012) by Tom DeFalco, R.B. Silva and Rob Lean
In a nutshell. Insert your opinions about Harvest here.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Superboy vs. Kid-Flash

"Superboy vs. Kid-Flash" from Superboy vol.4 #5 (DC, 2011) by Jeff Lemire and Pier Gallo
Spinning out from Geoff John's fine little run on the character in Adventure Comics, Kon-El's pre-52 book was a sweet little affair painting Smallville as a weird superhero Twin Peaks/Eureka/Univille, and Jeff Lemire was the perfect writer for it. The book had a nice supporting cast too, including Luthor's brilliant niece and a non-timber wolf Krypto. One of the great losses of the New52, since Superboy became nigh unreadable  after the jump.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Super Sloucher

"Super Sloucher" from Superboy vol.3 #12 (DC, 1995) by Karl Kesel, Tom Grummett and Doug Hazlewood
Though visually a 90s fad nightmare, I really loved the post-Reign of the Supermen Superboy title, with Superboy in Hawaii fighting the likes of the Scavenger and King Shark, and kissing the likes of Knockout. Well, the costume design was 90s excess, but the art itself was good clean fun from Tom Grummett (most issues) and Karl Kesel really knows how to do fun superhero comics (he even brought me back to Marvel with his Daredevil, after a total ban that lasted several years). I didn't follow the book for long after this team left (the second time, Ron Marz filled in between 31 and 49), but it lasted 100 issues! (More when you count the 0 and million issues.) Remember when series numbering was allowed to go that high?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Clark Loves Destruction

"Clark Loves Destruction" from Superboy vol.2 #5 (DC, 1990) by John Moore, Jim Mooney and Ty Templeton
The Superboy TV series spawned a 22-issue (+ Special to tie up loose ends) series about Clark and Lana attending Shuster University and the young man of steel coming into his powers. What I've read of it was not unpleasant, and hey, Templeton on Mooney? Cool. And Kevin Maguire covers too! Later issues with art by Curt Swan gave the book a very retro look for the early 90s though, with Superboy looking like the Silver Age Superman in most shots. That just didn't seem right.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Punching Saplings

"Punching Saplings" from Superboy vol.1 #18 (National, 1952) by Alvin Schwartz(?), John Sikela and Ed Dobrotka(?)
While I don't think it's a good idea to kill trees this young, a real waste whichever way you look at it, it's still a heck of a lot better than punching the walls of reality until your favorite comic book universe is turned into your least favorite. If you know what I mean.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Orion as Gulliver

"Orion as Gulliver" from Super-Team Family #15 (DC, 1978) by Gerry Conway, Arvell Jones and Romeo Tanghal
What's more appropriate to a over-sized comic than an over-sized hero? Shame about the late 70s costume.