Category Archives: Comics

Four Kids, Four Paper Girls and more: Books read

FOUR KIDS WALK INTO A BANK by Matthew Rosenberg and Tyler Boss has a quartet of nerdy twelve year olds encounter a bunch of vicious adult punks, then discover Paige’s (the one girl of the foursome) father hanging out with them. It turns out Dad owes them a big favor, so he’s going to help them rob a bank. Horrified, Paige convinces her friends the only way to save him is rob the bank themselves first … This is an odd mix of whimsy and realism, but it works, right up until the end — I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers, but a couple of twists just didn’t make sense to me. Still worth reading, though.

PAPER GIRLS has been a consistently fun series and Volume 5 of the TPBs is no exception. At the end of Vol. 4 (I can’t find my review to link to), Tiffany, Mac, KJ and Kristie found themselves in the distant future from which all the time travelers have been visiting 1988. Now they have to navigate around the alien setting, looking fora  way home, looking for answers and looking for a cure for Mac’s leukemia. Great fun as always, tying up a couple of questions from earlier books an ending on a heck of a cliffhanger.

SAGA Vol. 9 by Vaughn and Fiona Staples didn’t work as well for me as the earliest volumes. All the individuals scenes of Hazel, Marco, Alanna and the rest of their oddball cast are good and engagingly quirky, but taken as a whole, it feels like the creators are just randomly shuffling pieces across a game board. I find it hard to remember much that happened, and even the ending cliffhanger didn’t shock me as much as it should have. Staples and Vaughn have announced a year’s break to recharge, so I hope things pick up when they return.

THE FORBIDDEN GAME trilogy by LJ Smith started with The Hunter and continued with The Chase and The Kill. In The Chase, which I thought I’d reviewed already, Jenny and her friends discover her supernatural stalker, Julian, has escaped the prison they left him in. Now his monstrous creations are stalking and capturing them, and if Jenny can’t figure out where Julian’s stashing them, she’ll end up as his bride for eternity. Complicating things are the kids desperate attempts to explain everything that happened in the first book to unbelieving authority figures.

The Kill wraps up the series (though a couple of elements make me wonder if Smith was hoping for a sequel) as Jenny and the survivors of the previous book take the fight to Julian in the Shadow World. This turns out to be the creepy setting of an abandoned amusement park where souls get trapped forever and the hokey games have a deadly component. This is creepy but the character arcs for Julian and Jenny are particularly good; I also like that just as Smith pulled off a good Face Your Fears storyline in The Hunter, here she succeeds with an excellent Face Your Darkest Secrets scene. Someone should really make a miniseries of this some time.

#SFWApro. Top cover by Boss, don’t know the second artist; all rights to both images remain with current holders.

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Women, both heroes and villains: books read

It’s been a while since I checked in on Greg Rucka and Michael Lark’s Lazarus series, but I finally checked Vol. 4 out of the library (feel free to check out my reviews of 1, 2, and 3). LAZARUS: Poison has the Carlyle family reeling from the attack on the family head in the previous volume. War erupts, the new leader is petrified, but Forever Carlyle (the family “lazarus” because her healing factor resurrects her) does her deadly best leading the family forces in the field. Readable, but not buyable (I think I’m sticking with library copies) — the art is murky during the battle scenes and the ending twist doesn’t work for me.

BOMBSHELLS: Uprising has WW II’s super-women battling the sorcery of the Joker’s Daughter, fighting for control of Atlantis and handling a boatload of European refugees, not to mention meeting radical Renee Montoya and scrappy Latina news vendor Lois Lane. Fun, as always, ending on a surprisingly upbeat note — the equivalent of a TV series season ender that could wrap up the series (though there are more adventures to come).

HITLER’S FURIES: German Women in the Nazi Killing Fields by Wendy Lower looks at the women who in varying degrees enabled or actively participated in the Holocaust. These included nurses giving lethal injections to the disabled, secretaries in SS office, leaders of women’s concentration camps and wives of camp commanders who took sadistic delight in killing or hurting prisoners or children. Lower shows how the motives that drove the various women she profiled included enthusiasm for Nazism, careerism, a desire to get off the farm or simply hopes of finding a husband by entering the Nazi bureaucracy. Only a snapshot, but a good snapshot.

#SFWapro. Cover by Owen Freeman, all rights to image remain with current holder.

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Destiny turns on a dime — or a batarang

Recently finishing BATMAN: The Golden Age Omnibus Vol. 4 reminded me one of the things I love about the Golden Age Batman is the stories the series tells focusing on ordinary people.

Of course lots of comics, then and now, include ordinary people in the cast, as friends of the hero or as victims of the bad guy. What makes this era distinctive is that the innocents caught up in the story almost seem to have their own character arcs going on, into which Batman and Robin stumble.

The previous omnibus, for example, gave us Destiny’s Auction. A crook, an aspiring actress and an over the hill thespian all lose possession of their steamer trunks. A year later they buy them back at a seized property auction, but ooops, they get the wrong ones. Now they’re all entangled, and the crook is very willing to use force to recover his trunk. At the end of the story though, the two actors have both jump-started their careers. Even though Batman intervened to save them, it feels like their personal stories are their own, not just supporting Bat-characters.

Similarly, in Detective Comics #93, we have One Night of Crime. Crooks fleeing the Batman take a tour bus hostage. Various passengers get to work out their own crises in addition to the main plot.

Batman #33 has The Search for Santa Claus, in which three despairing men, take up roles as Santa for the Christmas season. By the end of the story, which involves crooked heirs trying to kill one of the Santa, they’ve all got a new lease on life.

Detective #94 gave us No One Must Know, in which the Dynamic Duo help out an escaped con whose happiness and whose son’s marriage could be ruined by a blackmail scheme.

Detective #112’s A Case Without a Crime has the employees of a small, tightly knit shop thrown into doubt when they discover one of them has sto-len $99 from the register. Can Batman restore their faith in each other, particularly when it becomes obvious none of them committed the crime? And why steal such an odd figure, anyway?

I still saw stories along these lines in the Silver Age but not as well done. And now they’ve faded away, for the most part.

The omnibus has lots of other good stuff. We have more stories of the Joker and the Penguin (Catwoman only gets one minor story), more war stories before moving into the post-war period, a few new villains such as the Blaze and plenty of ordinary criminals. Alfred gets his own series, four pagers in which he tries to be a detective and succeeds in spite of himself. And just as the previous volume focused on different specialty cops, this one gives us a look at the mail service and Gotham City’s graveyard shift.

And there’s a particular favorite of mine, from World’s Finest Comics #105, The Batman Goes Broke. After one of Bruce’s companies goes belly up from embezzlement, Bruce wipes out his fortune to reimburse the investors. Trouble is, without money the Dynamic Duo can’t pay for all the equipment they need. And working a day job to put a roof over their head will leave Bruce without the time to fight crime and train. It’s all over (spoiler: it all works out). It’s a good story and it amuses me that a couple of decades later, people considered Stan Lee a revolutionary for dealing with superhero money issues (Stan definitely did break a lot of fresh ground, no argument, but it still amuses me).

#SFWApro. Covers by Jerry Robinson, J. Winslow Mortimer and Jack Burnley (t-b). All rights to images remain with current holder.

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Super powers and comics: this week’s reading

THE LIFE AND DEATH OF CAPTAIN MARVEL by Jim Starlin and others collects the original Bronze Age Thanos saga, which elevated Mar-Vell from a C-lister to a major character as he battles Thanos’ elaborate schemes, attains cosmic awareness and saves the universe. It’s the first storyline to realize the full potential of the Cosmic Cube (as opposed to its role in Captain America a few years earlier) and the story is excellent, though I still prefer Starlin’s Warlock run.

After his father’s death from cancer, Starlin returned to Captain Marvel for The Death of Captain Marvel, a graphic novel in which Mar-Vell discovers a past adventure (included in the book) exposed him to a deadly nerve gas that has slowly been killing him with cancer. His many friends put their heart and soul into finding a cure, but in the end they and “Marv” have to accept that fact that sometimes people just die, unheroically and hopelessly. It’s intensely moving, the last work from Starlin that I liked.

I have a fondness for oddball superhero stories when they work, and THE TALENTED RIBKINS by Ladee Hubbard works. Jonny Ribkins comes from a family of metahumans (one of several — they’re not unique) and possesses the ability to map out places he’s never seen. In his youth, he and his friends used their powers to protect civil rights activists; later Johnny and his brother (possessing Spidey’s wall-climbing powers) used their abilities to steal. Now Johnny’s old, desperate to pay off a debt to a powerful businessman and stuck taking his teenage niece along on his road trip. The results are quirky and low-key, but I liked them, though the ending dissolved into film cliches (don’t try to fit in when you’re born to stand out!).

GIRL GENIUS: City of Lightning by Phil and Kaja Foglio continues Agatha Heterodyne’s quest to free her city from its temporal prison. First she has to deal with an intelligent, belligerent and powerful locomotive, then she and her crew arrive in Paris, a city riven by scheming and ambitious sparks but already taken with the legend of the new Heterodyne (she’s being marketed for everything from hats to bath oil). Funny as always, though the sheer scope of the cast frequently makes it harder for me to follow what’s going on.

COMIC BOOK IMPLOSION: An Oral History of DC Comics Circa 1978 by Keith Dallas and John Wells actually starts with the mid-1970s as DC struggled to regain its dominance over Marvel Comics and outsider Jenette Kahn came on board as publisher to shake things up. Her most ambitious project was the “DC Explosion” — rather than simply hike the current 35 cent price to 40 cents, raise it to 50 cents with an expanded page count. Retailers would make more profit, making the books more attractive, and readers would get something for shelling out extra.

Oops. No sooner did the project launch than Warner, the corporate owner since the late 1960s, slapped it down: comics went back to normal size and DC had to cut its line by 40 percent, the DC Implosion (though Marvel cut massive numbers of books that year too, it didn’t get the publicity). This isn’t really an oral history (which implies someone sat down and talked to the players in the present) as much as culling old interviews and articles for contemporary accounts and perspectives at both DC and Marvel, mixed with a few more recent interviews (this is not a bad thing — contemporary material isn’t automatically more accurate but it isn’t blurred by time).  It follows the fallout from the Implosion (a lot of suddenly fired people went to work for Marvel)  through the launch of the Marv Wolfman/George Perez Teen Titans, which proved to the world that DC wasn’t permanently stuck in second place.

As someone seriously pumped about the Explosion and disappointed when it collapsed (particularly as it took down books I liked such as Shade the Changing Man), the high point of Comic Book Implosion is the detailed account of what happened to all that extra material: was it completed? Was it ever published (unsurprisingly a lot of stuff has shown up in more recent hardback and TPB collection)? Almost everything was published in 30 or 40 copies of Canceled Comics Cavalcade, if nowhere else (these were printed to protect copyright in the material and handed out to some of the creators). While I was fascinated to know these existed, I suspect if I saw them I’d agree with writer Mark Waid, who got to flip through one while working at DC and discovered it wasn’t full of lost classics.

#SFWApro. Covers by Jim Starlin and Steve Ditko (Shade), all rights to images remain with current holders.

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Looks like conan, lives like Elric: Claw the Unconquered

Back when I wrote about DC’s Beowulf, I intended to write about Claw the Unconquered, and I clearly remember having done so. But as I looked recently and can’t find any such post, the memory is obviously wrong. So here we go with a look at the most successful of DC’s Bronze Age sword-and-sorcery series (alongside Beowulf, Stalker — The Man With the Stolen Soul and Swords of Sorcery).

As you can see from Ernie Chan’s cover and the Gil Kane image below, the creative team gave readers a character visually interchangeable with Marvel’s Conan except for the red gauntlet. Initially, Claw comes off much in the same mold too, a wandering barbarian swordsman out for adventure, gold and women. By the end of the first issue, though, it was obvious something different was at work.

It turns out that under the gauntlet, Claw’s — real name actually Valcan — hand is a grotesque demonic paw. And that he’s the player in some cosmic game: the tyrant Occulas murdered Valcan’s father (who had the same hand deformity his son inherited) years ago because of a prophecy he would threaten Occulas’ rule. Now it appears Claw poses the same threat. Oh, and it’s hinted that Claw’s hand may be capable of independent action, striking at threats Claw hasn’t spotted. In the second issue, that becomes canon.

In the fourth issue, Claw and his new friend, the elegant womanizer Ghilkyn, encounter Occulas nastiest weapon, the death-demon N’Hglthss. Being near him kills living things, which then rise as zombies. Fighting N’Hglthss will require the two reluctant heroes head across the multiverse their world exists in. The multiverse exists in balance between two forces, light and shadow; Occulas is an unwitting agent of Shadow and if he wins Valcan’s world, the balance will tip in favor of darkness.

This isn’t at all Conan’s style, but it’s very much in the spirit of Michael Moorcock. Moorcock began writing sword-and-sorcerey with his character Elric, doomed non-human prince of ancient Melnibone. He then created several other characters, including Dorian Hawkmoon and Prince Corum, all of them, like Elric, avatars of the Eternal Champion who preserves the balance between Law and Chaos.

David Michelinie’s Claw is very much in the Corum mold. They both fight across a multiverse in a cosmic battle. They both have an enchanted hand. And Claw’s adventures tend to be much weirder than Conan’s, closer to the exotic stories and grotesque settings in Moorcock. When Valcan visits a chaos-ruled world in #8, Keith Giffen’s art truly makes it look bizarre and chaotic. It’s the kind of strangeness it would take me as a writer a lot of words to capture, but Giffen’s able to bypass description and just show it.

Running to 12 issues, Claw the Unconquered was, as noted, far more successful than DC’s other S&S adventures (though I’ll probably write about them eventually). It did not, however, survive the DC Implosion of 1978, in which Warners ordered DC to axe 40 percent of its line. The final issue ends with Valcan, horrified when his demon-tainted hand kills someone against his will, cuts it off. Had #13 come out, Claw would have discovered the hand reattaching itself.

Claw resurfaced later in a 2006 series from Wildstorm, which I haven’t read. It lasted six issues and included a special crossing Claw over with Red Sonja (I wonder if she noticed the Conan resemblance?). 1994’s Primal Force introduced a descendant of Valcan as one of the eponymous team, dedicated to protecting Earth from supernatural forces.

It’s no match for Conan’s long comics run, but it’s not bad either.

#SFWApro. Covers by Ernie Chan (Claw 1 and 4), Keith Giffen (#8), Gil Kane (Conan), Ken Hooper (Primal Force) and Bob Haberfield (King of the Swords). All rights remain with current holder.


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A poisoner, a dragon, a witch: books read

THE POISONER: The Life and Times of Victorian England’s Most Notorious Doctor by Stephen Bates recounts the story of the once infamous William Palmer, a Victorian medic put on trial for poisoning his best friend with strychnine and suspected of dozens more cases. Although Arthur Conan Doyle name-drops Palmer as a brilliant doctor and criminal in The Adventure of the Speckled Band, Bates shows that he was neither — more a desperate man, under water on his gambling debts, who resorted to poisoning a friend (and possibly a couple more people) to get money. Part of the public’s morbid fascination with the story was the use of strychnine, a new and hard to trace poison (up until the early 20th century, poison was close to undetectable), partly that Palmer was precisely the kind of dignified middle-class chap who ought to be above such behavior (as Black Swine in the Sewers of Hampstead discusses). Its cultural impact aside, like the shooting of Stanford White this former Crime of the Century isn’t that startling by today’s standards; Bates does a good job making it interesting even so, but the trial really bogs down in detail (as usual, I don’t blame him for getting into more detail than I was interested in).

I had the same reaction to the third volume of SAVAGE DRAGON ARCHIVES as I did to Savage Dragon: A New Beginning, that auteur Erik Larsen’s way too fond of recycling Jack Kirby to no purpose. This wastes a lot of space on New Gods/Thor-style deities engaging in Kirby-style conflicts and it all felt canned, with none of the passion Kirby showed for that kind of storytelling. On top of which, the sheer number of dramatic moments — Dragon’s dead! No, he’s alive in a new body! Now his Great Love is dead! Now someone else he loves is dead! OMG, he has a son! — and the lengthy exposition about past continuity made the whole thing feel like a parody, except parodies are actually funny (and if Larsen was trying for ironic meta-commentary, Astro City does that a lot better)

IT TAKES A WITCH: A Wishcraft Mystery by Heather Blake didn’t work for me at all, but I guess that’s not surprising: I’m not particularly a cozy mystery fan and I’m not a fan of complicated magic systems. And this book is full of multiple magical paths, each with its own elaborate rules (it feels very much like D&D specialists or subclasses); the protagonist is a “wishcrafter” who can grant wishes but only if they meet a variety of rules (no killing people, the wish must be sincere, you can’t grant another mage’s wishes — and you can’t tell anyone you’re a witch or you lose your powers). The first couple of chapters are very info-dumpy and the protagonist’s attraction to a studly cop felt canned (I will discuss this more in a later post). That said, this has become a successful cozy series so obviously a lot of people who are not me like it.

Finally, if anyone wants to click over to Atomic Junkshop, I reviewed the Joker’s 1975 solo series, recently TPB-ed as JOKER: Clown Prince of Crime.

#SFWApro. Top cover by Erik Larsen, bottom by Dick Giordano.

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John le Carré and Jack Cole: authors read

After the mess of Mission Song, John le Carré returns to form with A MOST WANTED MAN. Issa, the title character, is a Chechen refugee and alleged terrorist who shows up in Germany with a vague hope of starting his life over. Because his corrupt Russian father has ties to British-born German banker Tommy Brue (Tommy’s father handled the guy’s money laundering), Issa’s refugee-rights lawyer Annabelle believes she can talk Tommy into helping Issa. All three of them become the subjects of British and German intelligence efforts, with an eye to using Issa as bait in a scheme to turn a prominent terrorist funder.

Part of what makes it work is that instead of the stock thriller plot that took over Absolute Friends, everything that’s going down seems perfectly plausible: people get deported or their lives ruined simply because they try to help out someone they couldn’t have known is a terrorist, or suspected as a terrorist. Is Issa guitly? It seems unlikely at first but the concluding scenes make it seem possible … maybe. That’s still enough to bring others to disaster. The book is well written and while it does use some stock le Carré tropes (Brue’s ne’er do well father, his failed marriage), they don’t bog the book down. The only real problem is the ending, which feels very ex machina (technically it’s set up earlier, but it still feels forced).

THE PLASTIC MAN ARCHIVES, Vol. 3, continues Jack Cole’s delightful Golden Age run on the stretchable superhero with the same mix of horror and comedy stories found in Vol. 2, all marked by Cole’s loonie visual style. The Gay Nineties Nightmare may be my favorite in this volume: hunting a wanted fugitive, Plas and Woozy discover he’s fled to a town that cut off contact with the rest of the United States after it was left out in the 1900 census. As a result, it’s still frozen in the 1890s (“Gay Nineties” nostalgia had a surge of popularity in the 1940s). Other stories involve body-swappers, bad girls, cities gone mad and other goofiness. A pleasure to reread this one.

#SFWApro. Cover by Jack Cole, all rights remain with current holder.

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Milk, Amazons, videogames and more: books and graphic novels

DC/YOUNG ANIMAL: Milk Wars by multiple writers and artists was a crossover event between Gerard Way’s Young Animals imprint and the mainstream DC universe. A sinister corporation is purging Earth’s reality, turning Superman into a milkman, Batman into an affable preacher and Wonder Woman into Wonder Mom; can the Doom Patrol, Mother Panic and other imprint characters save the day? This was fun but as the one section drawing on a character I didn’t know fell flat (Shade, the Changing Woman, thanks for asking), I’m not sure it would work for anyone who doesn’t know them. And the meta-commentary about how corporate culture blands out original ideas didn’t entirely work — you can make the case for Wonder Woman, but Batman’s been getting darker and crazier year after year, not blander and nicer.

WONDER WOMAN: Amazons Attacked by James Robinson and Stephen Segovia was better than Robinson’s first WW TPB, but it’s still a long way from being enjoyable, let alone good. The plot has Jason and Diana adjusting to their new relationship while Grail and Darkseid make their bid to take over Earth. But Jason, Grail and the New 52 Darkseid are all dull and the story didn’t do anything to improve things.

LEVEL UP by Gene Luen Yuang and Thien Pham is an oddball story about a Chinese-American kid, Dennis, whose nose-to-the-grindstone approach to life (how else can he fulfill his parents’ dream of becoming a doctor) falters when he discovers video games; then four angels appear to keep nudging him along the path of absolute dedication. As one reader said, Yuang comes off as embracing the cliche that nobody who plays videogames can hold down a normal job; that aside, this isn’t entirely successful but I did find it entertaining.

THE BATMAN FILMOGRAPHY Second Edition by Mark S. Reinhart is a detailed look at the plots, production values and backstage conflicts of all the Batman movies from the 1943 Batman serial through Dark Knight Rises, as well as covering the comics, TV series, direct-to-video films and Bats’ appearances in Superman’s radio show (my friend Ross helped Reinhart with that). I skimmed a lot of this because I don’t need a detailed break down of the film plots, but Reinhart still does an excellent job detailing the creative decisions that blessed or broke the franchise (Tim Burton getting a free hand to make Batman Returns led to a much darker, grosser film than Warner Brothers wanted, for instance).

DELINQUENT DAUGHTERS: Protecting and Policing Adolescent Female Sexuality in the United States, 1885-1920 by Mary E. Odem covers some of the same material as Trials of Nina McCall and Bad Girls but does it better. At the end of the 19th century, women reformers began pushing to raise the age of consent, which was ten in most states, to sixteen or eighteen to protect girls from predators (one fear men expressed at the time was that underage girls would seduce them, then cry rape to blackmail them. The more things change …). Odem then looks at how this played out in the legal system (more inclined to slap guys on the wrist and punish the women), parents (many of whom saw the new laws as a way to restrain their daughters’ independence), across class lines (middle-class reformers equated working class working moms, let alone working daughters, with Bad Parenting) and the girls themselves (neither as innocent as the reformers thought or the cheap tramps the legal system imagined). A good book that catches the ambiguity and complexity of how this stuff worked out in practice.

#SFWApro. Cover by Pham, all rights remain with current holder.

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Young Animals, Aquaman, and writing about comics: books

Some entries from Gerard Way’s Young Animals imprint:

MOTHER PANIC: A Work in Progress by Jody Houser, Tommy Lee Edwards and Shawn Crystal is light-years removed from Houser’s upbeat Faith; Violet Paige is a celebutante (the genesis of this book was way wondering what a Bruce Wayne ID conceived in today’s world would look like) with a tragic, violent past, recently returned to Gotham City to get revenge on the organization that trained and remade her as an assassin. There’s a lot of interesting elements, but there’s way too much flashbacking (this felt a lot like Arrow in its use of them), and the flashbacks don’t really cohere (a problem when these are the events motivating the action).

Apparently I never reviewed DOOM PATROL: Brick by Brick by Way and Nick Derrington, the first revival of the great Silver Age team to incorporate Grant Morrison’s bizarre 1980s take on the team rather than just recycle the original version. Split personality metahuman Crazy Jane meets the therapist from Hell. EMT tech Casey learns she has a secret origin. Robotman and Negative Man get the band back together. If disorganized at times, it’s also wildly imaginative, reminiscent of Way’s Umbrella Academy. The follow-up volume, Nada (by Way and several artists) is more hit-and-miss, with some great cosmic concepts but some of the dialogue feels too much like a Morrison imitation. However I did like the return of Morrison’s Mr. Nobody as a deranged nihilist, leading not the Brotherhood of Dada but the Brotherhood of Nada!

Getting back to the main DC Universe, we have AQUAMAN: Underworld by Dan Abnett and Phillippe Briones, the penultimate volume in Abnett’s initial arc for the sea king (I already read the follow-up). Supposedly dead, Aquaman lurks in the shadows of Atlantis, helping the downtrodden against tyrant Corum Rath; can the mutant Dolphin convince him to lead a revolution? This was quite good.

In the Golden Age years before MLJ Comics hit gold with Archie Andrews and became Archie Comics, it had a stable of B to D list superheroes, most famously the Shield (the first star-spangled superhero) and the Black Hood. The Fly led off a modest superhero revival in the Silver Age, which eventually turned ultra-campy and attempted to revive pretty much every hero they’d ever used (as in Paul Reinman’s cover above). It tanked, but they’ve been revived again and again in the decades since. THE MLJ COMPANION by Rik Offenberger, Paul Castiglia and John B. Cooke does an impressive job looking at the originals, the various revivals and why they kept failing. DC, for example, tried turning them into the !mpact kid-friendly line in hopes of getting them out of comics stores and into drug stores; the new marketing director hated the idea and refused to cooperate. Another revival plan, Spectrum, fell apart when Archie blinked at doing a horror-tinged line (the Fly’s powers come with a fatal curse so a new person would have to replace the old Fly every issue).

Even though I’m not a fan (except for the recent, unsuccessful New Crusaders revival) the very fact they’ve been revived so often makes them intriguing enough I picked this up (from Roy Thomas’ Twomorrow line of comic-book histories) and I was fascinated. If you have any interest in the characters at all, this is definitely worth getting. Otherwise, I imagine not.

#SFWApro. All rights to image remain with current holder.


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Real science links and DC Weird Science covers

As I’m getting reorganized after Mysticon a simple links and  images post:

Hand transplant surgeons say they’re so routine now that they should be covered by insurance. Not everyone agrees.

A biologist discusses his feelings after an AI outperformed him. Another researcher says scientists using AI for data analysis are doing it wrong.

How much of the Internet is fake?

Flying cop cars!

A scientist offers revolutionary evidence that heart cells can regenerate. Years later, the results turn out to be bogus. The unsettling thing for me is that even though good science requires replicating results, repeated failures by other labs to confirm the findings didn’t seem to matter (one doctor dismissed the researchers as simply not being good enough to make regeneration work).

And despite the FBI’s claims, the science behind its photo analysis evidence looks dubious too.

#SFWApro. Covers (top to bottom) by Gil Kane, Ruben Moreira, Murphy Anderson and Anderson again, then Ruben Moreira. All rights to images remain with current holder.

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