This week, DC released a new paperback collection of the first eight issues of John Ostrander and Luke McDonnell's Suicide Squad, one of the absolute best comics of the 80s. The mix of high action and intense drama that focused on some of DC's more obscure villains not only revitalized characters like Deadshot and Captain Boomerang, it served as a blueprint to the kind of superhero story that DC would focus on for the next three decades. In short, it's great.
But let's be real, here: If you've read ComicsAlliance for any length of time, then you've probably heard us talk about all that stuff before. If that hasn't already convinced you, then what you need, friends, are specifics, which is exactly why I've sat down with my copy to bring you the five best moments of Suicide Squad Vol. 1: Trial By Fire.
John Ostrander and Tom Mandrake have a pretty amazing track record. The long-time collaborators are probably best known for their work at DC with titles like The Spectre and Martian Manhunter --- and for the creation of Johnny Karaoke, an extremely minor Batman villain that I might be the only actual fan of --- but now, they're reuniting for a new project. It's called Kros: Hallowed Ground, and it's the story of a vampire hunter taking on the undead at the Battle of Gettysburg.
To fund the new book, Ostrander and Mandrake launched a Kickstarter campaign this week, and to be honest, I'm not sure they've invented a unit of time small enough for how fast I hit that link to get this comic.
What made the Ostrander/Yale Suicide Squad work and others not? John Ostrander and Kim Yale, along with Luke McDonnell, Geof Isherwood, Karl Kesel and other artists. They were creators who were absolutely at the top of their game over the course of Squad's 66-issue run, and you can't really get away from the fact that when Ostrander came back for stuff like Raise the Flag and the Blackest Night one-shot, those books were immediately right back in step with some of the best stories of the run. They were, hands down, one of the best creative teams in the history of superhero comics.
But at the same time, I don't think that's the whole story. When you get right down to it, Suicide Squad wasn't just a product of its time, it was the kind of comic that could only really happen in 1987.
Over the past few weeks, Comixology has done a pretty amazing job of staying on top of DC's Convergence event with a string of sales based on the different eras that were brought into Bottleworld to fight it out, and this week is no exception. There's amazing stuff in there focusing on the Justice League International, the amazingly underrated 90s Superboy run, and one of the greatest comics of all time, the late '80s Suicide Squad.
But with all those great books to choose from, you might need a little help narrowing it down. Like, let's say you can only buy one comic from the entire sale. If that's the case, then my recommendation would be that you jump on Suicide Squad #58. You know, the one where a werewolf kills Grant Morrison.
Q: Just re-read Gotham Central and it got me wondering, what's the deal with the Spectre? -- @BatIssues
A: The Spectre was originally created in 1940 by Jerry Siegel and Bernard Baily, but it's worth noting that some sources -- including legendary editor Roy Thomas, who's about as big a fan of DC's Golden Age titles as you're likely to find -- give Siegel full credit for the whole concept, and that's the first interesting point. After all, Siegel is, as you may have heard, the co-creator of arguably the most enduring and significant character in comics history, who's known for his incredible physical strength: Slam Bradley.
Of all the redesigns that took place for DC's "New 52" relaunch, the one that was most disappointing to the staff of ComicsAlliance was undoubtedly the one that hit Amanda Waller. Rather than the short, stout, and impossibly tough woman who appeared in the pages of John Ostrander, Kim Yale and Luke McDonnell's Suicide Squad, the redesigned Waller was young, slim and sexy. She was, in other words, just like every other "idealized" body type in superhero comics, and lost a bit of what made her unique.
Well, it seems our disappointment has found us in good company, alongside no less than Ostrander himself. In a column at ComicMix that went up this week, the writer expressed both a love of the character he shaped for over 60 issues, and a dismay at how the character's redesign conflicts with his original intent.
John Ostrander, Kim Yale and Luke McDonnell's run on Suicide Squadin the late '80s is one of my all-time favorite comics, and has a pretty legitimate claim on being the best team book that DC ever published...
Here at ComicsAlliance, we value our readership and are always open to what the masses of Internet readers have to say. That's why every week, Senior Writer Chris Sims puts his comics culture knowledge to the test as he responds to your reader questions...
Comics writer John Ostrander is fighting a battle against glaucoma to keep his vision, a fight not made easier by the devastating cost of his medical bills. A few of his friends have formed a charity to help him called Comix 4 Sight, and they're organizing an art auction to benefit him at Chicago Comic-Con this Saturday night...
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