Random, but… I wish people would stop abandoning dogs. Especially near my house. Today a golden lab and (what I think is) a basset hound appeared in my yard. The lab was very affectionate and clearly owned by someone, even understanding some commands. But I can’t keep dogs.
Those who remember me from my TV Tropes days remember I wasn’t a huge fan of American comics.
So you might be wondering then, what possessed me to buy a bunch of trades yesterday when I went to a bargain outlet store called Ollie’s (it’s like Big Lots, basically selling hand-me-downs from other stores). Well, thing is some comics–particularly older ones–do fascinate me a bit. It’s also possible that I’ve just been reading the wrong comics–most of my experiences have been with Marvel, who kinda suck. I bring this up because most of Ollie’s selection was DC Comics–the only Marvel representation was hardbacks of Stephen King’s The Dark Tower comic (and this makes me wonder if I’m right about the “hand-me-down” nature of their offerings because they tended to have multiples of the same volumes, not just for that but basically everything in their stock would have an exact dupe somewhere. Some of my own selections came off a stack, in fact).
So here’s what I got:
Green Lantern Chronicles, Vol. 4 – DC’s “Chronicles” line being an attempt to cover every story in a given character’s existence. In practice, none of the Chronicles wound up lasting long, but I do love them. If you’re wondering, this is Silver Age Green Lantern–Hal Jordan.
Flash Chronicles, Vol. 3 – This was in a stack. Also, this is Barry Allen. One of the stories contained herein is “The Day Flash Weighed 1000 Pounds!”
JLA: The Greatest Stories Ever Told – No volume number so I’m guessing first in a line.
Superman: The Greatest Stories Ever Told, Volume 2
And finally Showcase Presents: The Phantom Stranger, Volume 1. Now this I picked up because it sounded interesting and I had never heard of Phantom Stranger before. Ollie’s had two other Showcase volumes, one for JLA and one for some war comic (I think called Metal Men or something like that? But the cover showed soldiers and tanks and stuff so I may have the title wrong). The War comic was one of the few cases where they seemed to only have the one copy. I normally don’t pick up DC’s Showcase (or its Marvel equivalent, Essentials) because well these comics were intended to be read in color so I’d prefer to read them that way, but one deciding factor in this case was that NONE of these books costed more than $3.99 (most of them were a dollar less than that) so I could afford an exception.
So far… well, the book I’ve explored the most is the JLA Best-Of volume, and… holy crap, that title ain’t no lie, because some of these have actually been damn good.
I think one reason I like the Golden and Silver Ages is because this was back when comics didn’t have their heads up their asses, and could follow any silly idea to its logical conclusion, often with just totally awesome results. To put this as spoiler-free as possible… one of the JLA stories mentions that Superman’s cape is indestructible. Aquaman takes advantage of this to trap an explosive being following the Flash, by setting the Cape up like a net, having Flash phase through it (because he can just DO that) and then the cape holds in the explosion of the trapped chaser (said explosion makes the cape inflate up something fierce in a panel).
You had me at “indestructible cape,” comic!
Seriously, why can’t we have more like THIS?
One of my regrets about the Marvel Method is that it put an additional emphasis on “character,” which sounds neat in theory, but in practice amounts to “everyone is a dick and whines endlessly about problems which in some cases they could easily solve and are usually bringing on themselves.” Whiners aren’t fun in real life, why would I want them in fiction? It’s the same deal as in Console RPGs–I’d rather have the blank-slate Light Warriors than the brooding narcisist Squall or the endless waifus trying way too hard to be kawaii and instead coming off as annoying.
Don’t get me wrong, characterization is normally a good idea, its just that modern writers seem to not understand human beings at all and seem to think any character who isn’t miserable all the time is just a plank of wood (when in practice being defined solely by misery makes a character literally one-dimensional).
The first Phantom Stranger volume so far is interesting, though I’ve only gotten past his and Dr. Thirteen’s introduction story. The Superman volume opens with the first appearance of Mr. Mxyptlk (not sure I spelled that right), which is where The Animated Series got the “McGurk” bit from. Kinda genius that they somehow realized “McGurk” is inherently a funny name.
Like I said, the book I’ve spent the most time is the JLA volume, followed by the Green Lantern, which opens with a story about Sinestro trapping GL on a yellow planet where “even the very air is yellow.” Ummm…. okay? One thing I never noticed before is that Sinestro’s head is… elongated. Like seriously I could see using it as a baseball bat or a club. Not complaining, because at least its distinct.
I have not yet read the Flash volume beyond glancing at the table of contents. The first story–featuring some dude named the Trickster–just didn’t grab me. Still, happy to keep around the adventures of the Original Red Ranger (a name I’ll be shocked if nobody else has used it before now).
I’m also trying seriously to draw comics of my own, but no ETA on that as well, I tend to be chronically lazy. Hopefully I’ll get somewhere soon.