I’m starting to gear up for this year’s San Diego Comic Con, although I don’t actually prepare much. I spend more time studying the parking map in the back of the San Diego Comic Con Update book than figuring out all I want to do once I get inside the convention center. This year I’ve organized my own “Say Hi To Everybody!” tour. My plan is to attend all four days and walk up and down all the aisles and stop at each and every one of the booths and just say, “Hi!” Conversations will follow, of course. Sometimes the simplest plans are best. Gives me more time to construct a parking strategy.
Over at my Comic Effect website (www.comiceffect.com) I have begun laying out pages on our road trips throughout the USA, beginning with numerous treks across the Mojave Desert. If you want to see how barren, stark, arid and absolutely beautiful the desert is on hot summer days, please check it out (just click on the words “The Mojave Desert” at the top of the Home Page), but bring lots of water! Eventually I’ll be tying in my love of comics with my love of traveling on the road. How I remember and describe Monument Valley is going to be a lot different than director John Ford’s interpretations!
Liberty Girl #1. (August 2006, Heroic Publishing.) One of the things I enjoyed so much about Dennis Mallonee and Mark Sparacio’s Liberty Girl #1 is that it isn’t tied into a big old superhero universe, over-reaching cosmic events and multiple crossovers. It has its own centralized story about a once popular superheroine during the days of World War II, who through a mysterious timestorm finds herself in present day California battling a time-plucked Nazi villain from her past. The story is solid, the art is exciting, the supporting characters are interesting (and play a major part in the story), and it’s just an entertaining, intriguing adventure comic that reminds me of the best parts of my good old days of comic book reading.
The time has come to reassess, and certainly give more attention to, editor Murray Boltinoff’s stint on Action Comics back in the early 1970s. Last Friday I read a two-part imaginary tale in Action #396-397 by writer Leo Dorfman and artists Curt Swan and Murphy Anderson. It was really, really good. Set in the 1990s, Superman is practically powerless, crippled, wheelchair-bound and living in an abandoned tenement building. He panhandles all day, thinks on former glories, and watches as modern technology performs the acts of saving people in distress that he once did many years ago. You’re probably thinking that Superman will eventually get his super-powers back, and you’re right, but it’s not the happy ending you would be expecting. A moving, well-plotted story that caught me by pleasant surprise. Worth tracking down.
“The Super-Panhandler of Metropolis” and “The Secret of the Wheel-Chair Superman” lingered with me so much over the weekend that I felt compelled to pull out and start perusing all the Boltinoff-edited issues of Action. When Mort Weisinger retired as editor of the Superman titles in 1970, Boltinoff took over as editor of Action with #393. He moved the short Legion of Super-Heroes feature over to the back of Superboy and then as back-up to the main Superman story presented various takes on the Superman mythos, such as tales of Superman’s Fortress of Solitude. Boltinoff presided over twenty-six issues, ending with #418, and even gave Metamorpho his own solo series after a long hiatus for the Element Man. While there are no classic Superman stories to be found here, there are many good single issue and infrequent two-part gems to be discovered. All were illustrated by Swan and Anderson, the premiere Super-art team of the Bronze Age of comics. There are also some nice covers by ‘Swanderson,” Neal Adams, and Nick Cardy.
I hate to admit to slacking off on keeping up with Lucifer, but it’s true, I read the final issue (#75) the other day and for the most part I was confused. It’s no fault of Mike Carey’s writing, it’s just that I haven’t been reading the book consistently since around issue 45 or so. In a way, that’s unacceptable, because Lucifer is challenging, demanding, and for all its thoughtfulness and complex intrigue is still a gripping adventure comic. I recall this storyline from about a year back: God has left Heaven for whereabouts unknown and in so doing his creation, all that is, begins to slowly decay. Meanwhile, the Silver City, home of God’s Angels, is under overwhelming attack by an army led by Lilith, as in Eve the first woman. Doesn’t that sound like a great story? And have you noticed I didn’t mention the star of the book? Lucifer’s on the sidelines, but he becomes a major player, of course. And I never finished the storyline! Now that it’s all done, it’s time for me to catch up!
Currently in JLA Classified writer Steve Englehart is taking a fond and faithful look back at JLA ‘Detroit,’ which is hands down the most controversial take on the League in the team’s forty-five-plus year history. How many SBC readers were there when JLD debuted in the pages of Justice League of America Annual #2? How many of you approved of that bold, baleful change in direction? Justice League Detroit did not rock my world in 1984, but rereading the annual did bring back nice musical memories of Bruce Springsteen, Prince, The Cars, and Cyndi Lauper. So that’s what it’s worth to me!