You know how every now and then, you'll see a cover on an old comic, and it'll stick with you even if you don't actually read the issue? That happened to me with Detective Comics #365. Ever since I spotted it on the wall at the comic book store where I used to work, I've held on to that image of that Carmine Infantino image of Batman and Robin attacking a house shaped like the Joker's face, a brick facade shaped into the ramshackle rictus of their arch-nemesis, with guns emerging from his eyes and mouth.
It's an amazing image, but it wasn't until I saw it floating around Tumblr the other day that I realized I should actually read the comic --- and it turns out that it's one of the weirdest stories with one of the most fun ideas that I've ever seen in a Silver Age Batman comic.
On this day in 1959, issue #22 of DC Comics' Showcase appeared on newsstands. Three years earlier, in issue #4, the anthology series had introduced a radically new take on the company's super-speedy Flash character, and in doing so, laid the groundwork for a full-fledged revival of the superhero genre. In the time since, Showcase alternated through a variety of new features (Manhunters; The Flash; Challengers Of The Unknown; The Space Ranger; Rip Hunter, Time Master; Superman's Girlfriend, Lois Lane; Adam Strange), but with #22, it once again returned to the well of iconic properties, taking the name of a Golden Age hero and lending it to an all-new character.
The original Green Lantern of the 1940s was a guy who channeled mystical "green flame" powers through a talking lantern (and a ring made from metal that he cut out of said lantern), and wore an eye-popping multi-hued outfit that looked like it was assembled by a color-blind tailor on his last day before retirement.
Many of comics’ most popular characters have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most significant characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the best Joker comics.
As the genre of superhero comics has become increasingly event-driven over the last thirty years, the need to push each event as more important than the last has increased with it. Every new event promises, somehow with a straight face, that “nothing will ever be the same again.”
There are, in fact, comics that actually affect everything that comes after them one way or another — Action Comics #1, Amazing Fantasy #15, Uncanny X-Men #132 — but they rarely come with much fanfare, or with empty and overreaching promises. One such comic debuted on this day in 1961: Flash vol 1 #123, “The Flash of Two Worlds.”
Many of comics’ most popular heroes have been around for decades, and in the case of the big names from the publisher now known as DC Comics, some have been around for a sizable chunk of a century. As these characters passed through the different historical eras known in comics as the Golden Age (the late 1930s through the early 1950s), the Silver Age (the mid 1950s through the late 1960s), the Bronze Age (the early 1970s through the mid 1980s) and on into modern times, they have experienced considerable changes in tone and portrayal that reflect the zeitgeist of the time.
With this new feature we’ll help you navigate the very best stories of DC Comics’ most beloved characters decade by decade. This week, we’re taking a look at the Green Lantern.
As much as I love Batman, and I think the record will show that I love Batman a whole heck of a lot, I haven't really been looking forward to sitting down and cracking open the new Batman: A Celebration of 75 Years hardcover. Last year's Superman anniversary hardcover was a disaster of revisionist history, 300 pages that would have you believe that one of the world's greatest superheroes did nothing for seven and a half decades but cry. With that in mind, I had no idea what DC Comics was going to do with Batman. If you'd asked me to bet on it, I would've put good money on a prediction that they'd craft a narrative that acknowledged Batman only as a scowling vigilante, consumed with vengeance and every bit as crazy as the villains he fought.
But it turns out I didn't have to worry. The Batman hardcover is exactly what it says it is -- a celebration of Batman across different eras, with a roster of stories that highlights one of the character's true strengths: How well he works across different kinds of stories.
Saying that the Joker has done a lot of weird stuff in his time is putting it pretty mildly. From trying to patent poisoned fish to serving as Iranian ambassador to the United Nations, the dude has been up to some pretty strange stuff...
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