Welcome to Cast Party, the feature that imagines a world with even more live action comic book adaptations than we currently have, and comes up with arguably the best casting suggestions you’re ever going to find for the movies and shows we wish could exist. This week, I'm turning to the best DC comic of the SIlver Age, Metamorpho, created by Bob Haney and Ramona Fradon.
Q: What is your high water mark for DC's Silver Age? Mine is the publication of Atom #1 in 1961. --- @batmite1
A: When you get right down to it, it's pretty difficult to separate the Silver Age from the Superman. Even when Batman was translating the era's pop-art aesthetics and biff-pow sound effects to a mass media audience on television, it was the Superman titles that were defining the era in comics, and providing some of the true high points of the era. Chances are pretty good that when you think of the Silver Age, the image you get in your head is going to be from a Superman title, whether it's the time he was walking around with a lion head, a far-future adventure with the Legion of Super-Heroes, or even the very existence of Jimmy Olsen.
But while Superman provided most of the memorable highlights of the era, there was a lot going on beneath the surface in books like Doom Patrol or Metal Men that were stone cold classics. And pound for pound, the best comic of the Silver Age wasn't Superman. It was Metamorpho.
Things are messed up right now, so let’s talk about comfort comics. Comics as escapism. There are a lot of current and recent comics that could work for this — All-Star Superman, Lumberjanes, and Squirrel Girl come to mind — but I want to go back a little farther.
Because here’s the cool thing about comics: They all used to be for kids. Which means that a lot of the classic comics, the influential ones that made the medium what it is, are also escapist fun. So when you want to read something that’s going to let you forget your problems and get lost in fantasy, you can also read something that will help you become well versed in comics canon. This is literally how I became who I am today.
Ramona Fradon is one of the great living legends of comics, a creator with an instantly recognizable style who has worked on some of DC Comics' best-loved series -- and co-created a few classic characters along the way. Her crisp, lyrical line has elevated every book she's touched over her six-and-a-half decades in the business, and her work continues to influence and inspire creators to this day.
Fradon graduated from Parsons School Of Design in 1950, and began working at DC almost immediately, pencilling the Shining Knight backup story in Adventure Comics #165 – and when that feature was replaced by Aquaman two issues later, Fradon found her first signature character.
I think I've made it pretty clear over the past few years that I'm something of a connoisseur of strange comic book stories. I love comics where things get weird with that sort of cheerful rejection of all logic, where things don't quite add up, but the truth is, I sometimes get to a point where I think I've seen it all. I start to get jaded, and think that nothing can ever match the weirdness that I've already seen. But every time, I run across a story that makes me realize that in all my years, I've only hit the tip of the iceberg of bizarre stories. And it usually happens when I'm reading a Bob Haney comic.
Case in point: Bob Haney and Jim Aparo's "How To Make A Super-Hero," where the World's Greatest Detective decides it would be a good idea to let a homeless Plastic Man fill in for him while he's out of Gotham City, and guess what? It goes horribly wrong.
Like any great medium, comics has a give-and-take relationship with the zeitgeist. Comics can shape fashion, culture, and even politics -- but the industry is always changed by those things as well...
The CW’s superhero series Arrow re-imagines Green Arrow for a TV audience as a tough, often ruthless vigilante bent on setting things right in his home of Starling City by punishing the wicked. ComicsAlliance’s Matt Wilson will be following along to see how he fares.
This week, it's a spooooooky Halloween episode with a serial killer, people running out into live shellings and at least one hilarious text message.
Ever since that massively eyebrowed miser Simon Stagg showed up on the first episode of Cartoon Network's Beware the Batman, I've been waiting for the show to follow up and introduce Stagg's ever-present nemesis/potential son-in-law, Metamorpho, The Element Man! Now, it seems the wait is over: In this week's episode, Batman goes toe-to-toe with the one and only Rex Mason!
Check out a clip (and learn a little history about the fabulous E-Man) below!
Arrow producer Marc Guggenheim posted the image above to his Twitter account yesterday, along with the vague message, "Coming to Arrow season 2." What did he mean exactly? The actual character Rex Mason, also known as The Element Man? A company named for him? A talking van? He didn't specify, so we'll just have to wait and see.
This year, the Eisners are honoring the legendary Bob Haney with the 2011 Bill Finger Memorial Award for Excellence in Comics Writing, and if you ask me, that's long overdue. In a career that spanned five decades, Haney's contributions to the DC Universe included co-creating the Teen Titans, Metamorpho and Eclipso and a long run as the writer of The Brave and the Bold, working with artists like Neal Adams and the incredible Jim Aparo.
And he also wrote some of the craziest comic books I have ever read, like the time Batman sold his soul to the devil, the the time they retconned the JFK assassination with shapeshifters, and the time the Atom resurrected a man from the dead by doing gymnastics on his cerebellum.Haney didn't just embrace the wild, anything-goes attitude of the Bronze Age, he strapped a jetpack on it and rocketed it to a headquarters at the center of the sun. He set the gold standard for an entire era of DC comics, writing stories in which no premise was too insane to make a grand adventure and no character was off-limits for a team-up with Batman. So with the award being officially handed down next month, ComicsAlliance has decided to show you just why he's so great with a look at Bob Haney's Craziest Stories!