Sunday, May 13, 2007

Super Moms

Some moms are nurturers, taking children to their heart and doing everything they can to help their child fit into the world. They try to teach goodness and fairness and encourage their children to be a good example themselves.

Other mom's sacrifice the joy of having their children near them, for the sake of the world at large. They worry about their children and wonder if they've made the right decisions.

And no matter the length of each mom's life, they are always taken too soon. They can only hope that the examples they have set in the time they had are taken to heart by their mourning children.

Moms come in all shapes, sizes, colors and temperments. Today, I salute them all, but especially my own Super Mom. She comes to the title with qualifications quite diverse and I wish her a Super Mother's Day!!

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Free Comic Book Day!

Had an enjoyable and productive trip to Hyannis this morning. I needed assorted supplies for the garden and so I combined that with a visit to Borders, for a few graphic novels I'd ordered, as well as the latest issues of both Wonder Woman #8 and Amazons Attack. These are really hitting their stride now. It's becoming more obvious that Jodi Picoult is setting up Nemesis to be a potential Steve Trevor type to Diana, which is something she's long needed.

She's got a relationship growing between these two characters that has a sort of "Dave and Maddie" feel to it, for those of you ancient enough to recall the classic, but ill-fated Moonlighting. It seems like that could give us entertainment and good stories for some time to come.

To get myself excited about the arrival of Gail Simone as the new regular writer for this series, the graphic novels were actually two Birds of Prey collections, as well as the Secret Six mini-series, all featuring her work. I've read such great things, I'm really sort of looking forward to wrapping up this entry and going off to do a bit of reading!

In other current comics news, I've been reading all the online reviews, synopses, etc., of the final issue of 52, which came out this week. It sounds to have been a suitably big finish, with the "return" of an all-new Multiverse. Ah, the possibilities!!! Can't wait to read the trades on this...but will have to practice patience, since the first of the four volumes of the series won't be available 'til the end of the month.

Meanwhile...most importantly, today was Free Comic Book Day and so the highlight of the Hyannis run was my visit to Newbury Comics, where I was in need of a few more packages of polybags for the collections, and also picked out my five titles from the special display rack.

For the uninitiated, this event happens every May and its just great. In an effort to bring in some new fans, most comic publishers prepare a special issue which is available at stores for free that day. At Newbury, the limit was five. I picked mine out with my pal Sebastian in mind. He's eight and will hopefully enjoy my choices...and not mind that I gave them a quick and careful read before delivering them to him!

Thursday, May 3, 2007

Report From the Field

Alright, (I'm) back. The arrival (finally) of Spring has been distracting me from this blog (check over at the Midnight Garden for the details), as has the arrival of a busier work season.

I've been thinking about this blog more than posting here lately, as I continue sorting the collection. I've got some more longboxes now, so the progress is going well...there are so many titles, that I've been trying to subsort the like ones together.

And just how should I organize? Alphabetically? One of my goals is to have all the issues of each title in chronological order, so it's easier to reach and grab out a particular storyline for a re-read. But what of the business of the company-wide crossover?? Feggudaboutit.

I'm sorting by title, but then those are being grouped thematically. So far there's a box of just Wonder Womans (both of the first two volumes...the third run is still out for easy access as I reread the more recent issues in search of understanding.). Another box is home to issues of Justice League of America, Justice League (later JL International) and Justice League Europe (JL Task Force and Extreme Justice will just have to find other homes). After that, I get a little more creative.

The next box carries assorted Green Lantern titles, then Green Arrow (series and various minis)...and I'm currently trying to sort out other issues for quantity to see which other JLAer's solo title will join them in the space remaining.

Meanwhile, many of my Vertigo titles (Sandman and related, Hellblazer, Shade the Changing Man, Books of Magic, etc.) have fit comfortably into a fourth box.

As before, it continues to be great fun to see all these titles and try to remember the stories behind the covers (without stopping to look...). As it is, I've hijacked the entire run of All-Star Squadron (the WWII adventures of the Justice Society as chronicled in the 80s)for late night re-reading.

The other thing that's been delaying me is that in exploring the collection, I might've enjoyed doing so in the order that I entered the DC Multiverse, to kind of recreate that. But I'm not uncovering individual issues in chronological I'm not going to worry about that so much. Piece it together on your own, I guess, is the best advice.

Doesn't matter in the end: no matter what your approach to this stuff, it's nothing but fun!

I Meet The Justice League

Ah, 1976. It was our country's bicentennial. There were tall ships and parades and fireworks and celebrations galore. I wore a tri-corn hat and knickers myself on more than one occasion. It was quite a lot of fun.

By then the Super Friends were on Saturday morning TV, so I kind of knew who the Justice League was. That summer, DC released a number of over-sized comic books, all reprints of earlier stories.

Here were all the world's greatest heroes (well, most of them), coming together to save the world one way or another. 1963's "Decoy Missions of the Justice League" starts things off, featuring (alphabetically from the Roll Call) Aquaman, Atom, Batman, Flash, Green Arrow, Green Lantern, J'onn J'onzz (the Martian Manhunter) Superman and Wonder Woman (with a special guest appearance from Adam Strange) in a tight little encounter with the bug-eyed alien Kanjar Ro, story by Gardener Fox, with art by Mike Sekowsky and Bernard Sachs.

The second tale (from 1965)related "The Deadly Dreams of Dr. Destiny", featuring another great JLA villian, who went on to some fame in a few memorable issues of Sandman at the end of the last century. The roll call this time out included Atom, Batman, Hawkman, Snapper Carr, Superman and Wonder Woman.

What a classic pair of stories...and such a great introduction to the Justice League. DC really knew what they were doing when they released these. There were four pages of character sketchs from Super Friends, as well as a double-page centerfold featuring the entire 18 person full roster of the JLA in their satellite headquarters. This stuff was like crack to me.

From knowing just a few heroes, I'd known been introduced to all the world's greatest super heroes...and now I was hooked and interested in all of their adventures. With this one over-sized edition, DC had created an addict...uh, that is to say...a fan for life.

Even better, the back cover of the magazine offered the mirror image of the front cover shot...only featuring the parallel versions of our heroes from World War II...though it would probably be another couple of years before I learned that they now lived on something called Earth Two. (Please, give a kid a couple years to get through puberty before you break out that complicated sh*t...)

Childhood finances being what they were (and other comics to be collected), it was a year before I picked up my first "in-continuity" issue of JLA, that being #143 in June of 1977.

I'm glad to say it was a Giant-sized issue, with 80 pages for sixty cents! This was "A Tale of Two Satellites", featuring a particularly large roll call, adding Black Canary and Elongated Man, with special guest appearances from Hawkgirl and Mark Shaw, Manhunter, who by then was calling himself the Privateer.

Our story, by Steve Englehart, with art by Dick Dillin and Frank McLaughlin, begins with a blowout between Superman and Wonder Woman, since her performance is being a little heavily monitored and critiqued by other Leaguers.

I always thought they portrayed her here a little...shall we say...premenstrual (and who's to say she wasn't? Not that there's anything wrong with that.)...but she's still Wonder Woman. Just listen to her roar. She actually quits the team!

Diana teleports to Earth and all too quickly finds herself in the midst of a bank heist by Poison Ivy and Scarecrow, in which she and Mark Shaw cross paths. After the villians escape, he takes her out for dinner and she pours out her heart about about the JLA but when he doesn't say quite the right thing in response, she goes nuts and starts flipping tables over in the restaurant. It actually sounds more like menopause, doesn't it? It's always the waitstaff who suffer.

Anyway, the portrayal seems a little one-note and stereotypically female, until we learn that an alien construct...called Construct II, has recently taken over the satellite headquarters of the Injustice Gang, and has all of them (Ivy, Scarecrow, Mirror Master, Chronos, and the Tattooed Man) under mind control...and now add the Amazon to the unwilling army, which (say it with me, people) Construct II will use to rule the earth.

The JLA breaks down after Diana leaves and the heroes break off into smaller groups...and are eventually attacked by one of these villians. And of course, Mind Control Wonder Woman returns to the satellite and gets to kick some kryptonian ass. It's amazing that she and Superman didn't destroy the satellite, considering the damage the two did in the much more recent "Sacrifice" storyline, but Supes does realize that she's not herself, so he's holding back. In fact, he's concerned that her condition may kill her.

Meanwhile, the rest of the team have regrouped, compared notes and realize that they are being lured into a trap at the IG satellite, and so arrive by the backdoor, using GL's trademark green bubble to make a surprise entrance, and then...

...Fight Scene!!

The bad guys actually do pretty well with their sneak attacks, but clearly they're outnumbered by the full roster of the JLA.

Their defeat takes about a full page and then they've destroyed the infested IG satellite and Wonder Woman is freed of mind control: "a suddenly liberated lady is sobbing softly in Superman's comforting arms." and just in time, we run out of pages.