Back in the dim and distant times before the manga boom at the turn of the century, if you wanted anything that looked even remotely like Japanese comics you had to hunt through long boxes and hope that you could track down a whole story.
But like a lot of inconvenient things from the '90s --- like, say, VHS tapes --- that's an experience that I have a lot of nostalgia for, and the last time I was digging through dollar books at a con, I thought it might be fun to replicate what it was like to go into some random '90s manga completely cold. That's how I ended up with a copy of Eat-Man #1, the story of a man who eats things --- and based on this one issue, I think it might be my new favorite manga.
Getting super-powers can be a tricky bit of business. Sure, you could always wait for a magic space ring to just literally fall out of the sky, and if you're confident in your ability to be a protagonist and not just a background character, I suppose you could always try to fall into a nuclear reactor and hope you get a new costume out of the deal, or train yourself to be a world-class karate detective, but if you can't afford a rocket car to go with it, you might just end up wasting your time.
Or you could just wait for "Wizard" Holton, Criminal Scientist, to show up and offer you a big Box of Super-Powers that you can wear on your back. All things considered, that's probably the best way to go.
So let's talk about The Silver Age. No, not the period from 1954 to 1971 that was largely defined by rigid rules, bizarre transformations, and Superman constantly playing educational pranks on all of his friends and loved ones; the other Silver Age. The fifth-week event from 2000? That's the one I want to talk about today, largely because I'm not sure that anyone else ever has.
Badger is a very weird comic, and it's weird in a way that's such a product of its time that the best way to read it may be to just pick up whatever back issue you see and read it in complete isolation from the rest of the series. Which is how I got the one where the Badger teams up with Elvis to fight Bruce Lee.
But while the spirit of the Olympics is built on international friendship and good-natured competition, there are definitely villainous organizations out there trying to sabotage the games with the somewhat nebulous goal of turning us all against each other.
Or at least, that's what was going down in 1966, when the Teen Titans found themselves tasked with stopping a vaguely demonic criminal gang from destroying the Olympics --- something that was slightly less pressing than helping their pal Davey deal with his extremely grumpy dad.
Over the past week or so, my thoughts have been primarily consumed with two things: Comet the Super-Horse and the Summer Olympics. For the former, I was mostly able to get all of my thoughts down on paper in the form of last week's Ask Chris column, but when I was doing the reading to talk about Supergirl's equestrian pal and/or boyfriend, I discovered that there's one story where, at least for a page, those two things are kinda-sorta tied together in a really strange way.
It happened in "The Super-Cheat," in which Supergirl, with the help of Comet, screws over all of her classmates at Stanhope College so that she, and not them, can compete in the not-quite-Olympic games of the International Athletic Competition. So if you've ever wanted to see Linda Danvers just straight up shatter some dreams, this is your chance.
Tom Scioli has good taste in comics. That should probably be obvious if you look at the influences that have filtered down through his work on titles like Transformers vs. GI Joe. While most of his favorites might seem pretty obvious, though, there are a couple of others that you wouldn't necessarily know about unless you happened to run into him at a con while he was whiling away some downtime reading through a back issue. Which is exactly what happened to me a few years ago when I saw him reading Superman's Girlfriend Lois Lane #115.
Despite my love of Silver Age Superman Family stories, I'd never read this Bronze Age classic, but when I heard the premise, I knew I had to go find it immediately. Because this is the story where Darkseid tries to kill Lois by giving her a magic typewriter that can predict the future.
We've seen an awful lot of reboots over the past few years, and when it comes to giving a long-running character a new #1, there are a lot of choices you can make. The obvious one, of course, is to give readers a back-to-basics approach that makes things a little more accessible and lets new fans get in on the ground floor. Or, if you're aiming for the hardcore fans, you could pick something from past continuity and bring it back, casting it in a new light to reward and intrigue long-time readers.
Or, if you're Cary Bates and Kurt Schaffenberger kicking off The New Adventures of Superboy in 1980, you decide to open your first issue with some complete and total weirdness that references the obscurest pieces of old continuity and ends up with a story about an extra birthday candle, an eight year-old with a big decision to make, and a couple of aliens who long only for the sweet, sweet embrace of death.
All right, look. I have made my share of jokes about Aquaman over the years. Heck, if you really want to get down to it, I've made several people's share of jokes about Aquaman, to the point where I may have been personally responsible for the Great Aquaman Joke Shortage of '14. But honestly --- I mean honestly --- they're just sitting right there and you can't really blame me for going after the low-hanging fruit every once in a while.
Which brings us to Adventure Comics #262 and "One Hour To Doom," a classic of the Silver Age where Aquaman, King of the Seven Seas, founding member of the Justice League of America, and one of DC's most inexplicably enduring characters, attempts to apprehend a seafaring criminal only to find himself stopped at every turn by the fact that sometimes, he is not actually standing in the water.
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