The Adventures of Sgt. Shark!

Matt and I are both big, BIG lovers of comic ads.  I mean, if you can’t appreciate the sheer lunacy of those classic Hostess ads where Big Time Hero defeats Never-Again-Seen Villain by exploiting their fried pie weakness the we are just not on the same page!.  Not to mention all those O.J. Dingo ads!

But I recently decided to give in and read The Great Darkness Saga, and I found this masterpiece in Legion of Superheroes #291:

That’s right, it’s a story about a regular rough-and-tumble dude JUST LIKE YOU (and his one-eyed parrot, of course,) who uses his bro-tastic shark tooth pendant to PUNCH A SHARK AND REDIRECT A SUBMARINE!

Friends, my $5.95 is already on it’s way to Florida.

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Our DCU Retcon

Geoff Johns, now DC’s Chief Creative Officer, has expended a considerable amount of time and effort restoring the DCU to what he remembers and loved as a kid.  And good for him!  He did the work, came up through the ranks, excelled at his craft, and wound up in a position to guide DC to what he likes best.  However, it does open the door for every other fan and DC-lover to do the same thing.  When we (inevitably!) become the CCO we’ll do the same thing.  As a sneak peak, here’s a preview of the things we’ll do to restore DC to what we remember as kids.

See, I didn’t start reading DC books until ’92 or ’93 with the death and return of Superman. There actually aren’t many good memories of DC when I was a kid to which I’d want to return, but there are somethings I’d do responsibly with my great power.

  • Flashpoint/ DCnU was all a dream. The Psycho-Pirate awakens from it to find he’s still in a padded cell within Arkham. ANNNnnnndd….
  • Barry’s dead. It’s nothing personal, Bowtie, but your death was the best thing about you story-wise. We’ll pick up with Wally again sometime after Waid’s phenomenal arc, “The Return of Barry Allen.” I like my heroes full formed rather than whining about the burden of legacy and self-doubt. Also, what’s wrong with guys with gadgets? Captain Cold’s powers are now natural? WTF?!? Instead of being inspired by the cool Icicle, he’s inspired by the douchy Johnsian Icicle, Jr.? Come one Manapul! I’d have a moritorium on the use of Captain Cold so that he could rest from having such a horrid redo.

  • Justice League International – This has come back somewhat with the New 52, but I like the idea of a Justice League in every country.  In fact, it was SUCH a good idea that Marvel had their own take on it with the Fifty-State Initiative.  It allows for more interesting backdrops, more characters to get spotlight, and gives other areas of the DCU such a time to shine.  To this end, Max Lord isn’t a villain anymore, either.  He was such a good bureaucratic good guy, a character we just don’t ever see.  And much like the (Marvel) Sandman’s return to villainy from heroism, it doesn’t feel right.  We’ve seen too many of his inner thoughts to buy that.
  • I’d also bring back annuals. What better way to tell a few short stories, tryout new writers/ artists/, make a few bucks, throw in some nifty supplement material, and entertain the reader? If there’s something better than an annual not tied to a cross-over, I haven’t found it. To my mind, an annual is a good way to both audition talent and examine aspects of a character or character dynamics that can’t find page space in the regular book.
  • No more Rainbow Lantern Corps – There will always be Green Lanterns, that’s a given, but the rainbow Corps (Corpses?) are only diluting the brand.  First task: get rid of all but green and yellow rings.  That’s been enough for 60 years.  We’ll then pare that down to one lantern corps: Green.  Most likely, just to make my mark, I’ll keep one yellow ring and have a lone Sinestro Corps member (not Thaal Sinestro) patrol the universe serving up fear.
  • Jason Todd is dead – Nuff said.  Fuck that guy

  • As a basic concept/ look, I’ve always been drawn to Hawkman. As a character…or convoluted series of characters… not so much. As Assistant CCO of DC, All of Hawkman’s origins go bye-bye. He’s not the reincarnation of an Egyptian prince, he’s not an alien. He’s not an avatar for some Hawk-god. He’s not even an amalgamation of those ideas. He’s just a shirtless guy with wings and a cool helmet that likes to beat the tar out of criminals with a mace…and he’s been around a long time. A non-origin worked for Wolverine for over twenty years. Why does Hawkman have to be from somewhere? He simply is. Done.
  • Marvel Crossovers – The Marvel/DC crossovers may not have always been great, but they’ve always been fun.  When I’m in the CCO seat the Marvel relationship will be repaired and task one will be getting the Batman/Daredevil crossover going.  I’m sure Bendis and Maleev are still up for it.  I think I’ll ditch the Amalgam concept, though.
  • Guy Gardner: Sexist Pig – Guy Gardner was always an ass, but for no discernible reason (other than spite).  Since taking the reins on Green Lantern, Johns has toned down that attitude considerably, and just made it a result of Gardner’s enthusiasm for the job.  We’re going back to the sexist braggart we all loved to hate.  But don’t worry: if you don’t like this particular take where there’s Jerk Guy Gardner, Earnest Guy Gardner is also lurking.  By Giffen and DeMatteis, if they’re willing.
  • When was the last time the Martian Manhunter actually hunted “men”? You need somebody found? Go see J’onn J’onnz. Yeah, we’re bringing that shit back.
  • No Superboy – I hopped on just after Crisis happened, when Clark Kent became Superman as an adult.  This was also before Reign of the Supermen, when DC just wanted to expand the brand.  While the Silver Age had some great stories, I think they’re silly for modern continuity.  And there have been dome decent Connor Kent stories, the whole thing seems like emo Superman.  So let’s just go back to that blissful period without a Superboy.

  • No Guardians – Those little blue guys are asses, and much like Matt’s feelings toward Professor X, I don’t think I’ve ever read a good story with them.
  • I’ve mentioned this before, but maybe someone will listen if I say it often enough. Captain Marvel and company need their own universe to play around in. It’s got to be a more timeless place. A modern setting doesn’t work, and being forced into a universe where dark psychotic killers exist turns Cap into drab generic punch’em-up kind of guy. A kid that turns into a grown up when he/ she utters a magic word is an idea that appeals to pre-teens because of its silliness and it’s wish fulfillment. A Captain Marvel book needs to be written with the same sensibility as Spongebob Squarepants or a Tex Avery cartoon. Silly and strange should be the order of the day when it comes to Captain Marvel.
  • Tim Drake: Robin – The current Robin situation is a huge mess.  Damian Wayne makes for a few good Morrison stories, but I’ve never liked the idea of Son of Batman, and it would take a huge reset button to put him back.  Honestly, I don’t know why DC didn’t do that in 2011.  Tim Drake was the right Robin for his time.  Rather than an acrobat, a physical character, he was something of a hacker, which played to Batman’s detective side and had to work EXTREMELY hard for his physical development.  And he was all planning, no impulse, which put him at odds with Jason Todd (seriously, fuck that guy).  Meanwhile, it feels like he was shoehorned into the Red Robin role because no one wanted to get rid of him but nobody knew what to do with him.  Put him back in the Robin suit and let’s get Damian back to being a digression.
  • Only Batman and Superman have multiple titles – It seems like only Superman and Batman can truly support more than one title.  Not Green Lantern, Aquaman, or Flash.  Let’s not dilute the brand, DC.  Focus your best talent on the top titles.  There don’t need to be 4 Lantern-related books on the stand each month.
  • One thing I’d keep that Johns and co. are doing right is the re-introduction of the anthology title or titles with rotating foci. While every hero or team is someone’s favorite, not all characters can support their own title. The New 52’s DC Universe Presents is an opportunity to… dare I say it… showcase characters and stories of this nature. But, why not do more? Bring back Mystery in Space and cast a wider net. Give the fans their Space Cabby, ULTRA, The Multi-Alien, Adam Strange, and others. What about a House of Mystery or a similar title for darker/ magical characters? Not only would I shuffle characters, I’d shuffle creators often. I’d use anthologies as an incentive to bring over and keep creative talent. It’s an opportunity for creators of on-going titles as well as new talent to play with more toys from the box. The only stricture would be to stay away from characters that currently have their own title.
  • Elseworlds – Placing familiar heroes in unfamiliar settings is a GREAT idea and produced some amazing stories.  Books Holy Terror, Red Son, and The Nail were both interesting takes on our heroes and took their concepts to the core so we could really examine what makes them strong.  In fact, it was such a good idea that it was the theme for an entire year of annuals.  Let’s see some more.

Random Links For Your Weekend

Wow, it’s been a while since we had a good link roundup.  Don’t worry, I’ve been saving them up.

The curious case of the Golden Age Aquaman

It’s odd the things that keep me up at night. Last night I was awake in bed pondering the poetry of death in Crisis on Infinite Earths. It was seen as necessary that the Earth-1 heroes having counterparts of the same identity become the only ones. To wit, Marv Wolfman went out of his way to make sure that Earth-2 doppelgangers got a heroic moment of sacrifice or death. Everyone got some death love except Earth-2 Aquaman.

Batman had been killed several years previous in the pages of Adventure Comics.

The other heroes that needed to die got moments in Crisis. Superman sacrifices his life to contain and defeat the Anti-Monitor. Wonder Woman is unmade and given a place in the Elyssian Fields along with her pre-deceased husband: Steve Trevor. Then Green Arrow dies attempting to combat the Anti-Monitor’s Shadow Demons. Even Robin and Huntress get proper deaths.

The Golden Age Aquaman simply ceased to exist. While he never appears in the maxi-series…or any previous JLA/JSA crossover for that matter… he should have existed. He does briefly appeared in a couple of issues of All Star Squadron; in fact, he does his disappearing act during the Crisis crossover issue albeit ex camera.

I understand the need to say good bye to E-2 Superman and Wonder Woman. They both had prominent Silver Age and Bronze Age appearances. I puzzles me greatly that someone felt the need to pull E-2 Green Arrow out of mothballs, but they completely neglect Aquaman. It seems like a very random move.

So for the record: money, job, or women problems don’t keep me up at night, but the final fate of aquatic Golden Age characters does.

Starry Eyed Surprise

Jesse and I are both working on big projects related to the blog. We’re going to create separate pages for these projects, but we’ll link to them from LEMUR. Don’t worry, we’ll still keep things here running. Think of these side ventures as long running features for the LEMUR blog.

I don’t want to speak for Jesse, but I’m going to be rereading Starman over the next three months and writing reactions/ annotations for the individuals. The idea is that those of you out there that haven’t read it will get hooked and start picking up the issues or trades. For those of you that own the issues or trades already, here’s a chance for you to go back and enjoy them with us.

The new Starman page should be up later this afternoon with a post on issue #0.

Saturday Evening Post

Can’t tell the difference between Schaffenberger, Swan, Sprang, and Springer?

Ever wonder when Wayne Boring stopped drawing?

How about who was inking what and when at DC?

Here’s a fairly comprehensive look at artists at DC (with a heavy lean toward Superman and Batman). This is a rich resource with samples and an easily navigable database (a big plus for those of us who are impatient with searches).

Enjoy.

Who’s Whose in the DC Universe?