Friday, January 15, 2021


With the COVID-19 pandemic, I found myself gravitating toward nostalgia. I, like many, was looking for comfort, something familiar. I found it in the movies, music, and comics of my youth -- the 80s. I watched Star Wars (Original, not the special edition), I listened to Van Halen and The Police and Pat Benatar, and I read G.I. Joe, The Incredible Hulk, Alan Moore's Swamp Thing run, and many more. It helped. 

I was also communicating with friends and family, online for the most part. One of my friends, Ben, was reading through the Wally West Flash run, which started in 1987. One of us -- I'm fairly certain it was Gibran -- suggested we should all read that run, beginning with Geoff Johns's first issue, since Ben was that far along, and discuss it every week. We would read a set number of issues, between six and twelve a week, and Wednesday evenings get on a video call to do what we used to do at the comic shop and at each other's homes, shoot the shit about comics. We dubbed it Old Comics Day, or OCD. 

That was in late April and into May, and two things I took away from those discussions: 

1. Scott Kolins isn't on this run with Johns as long as I thought he was. His artistic legacy hangs heavy over that whole run by Johns, but there were more issues drawn by other artists than Kolins. 

2. Johns seemed to be laying the groundwork for bringing back Barry Allen, already, with this run. 

From there, we moved onto other series, rotating the choice among the four of us. Next was the classic run of New Teen Titans by Marv Wolfman & George Perez. If you're looking for great superheroics, in that classic style but without the boredom, this is the one to get. Great characterizations of cool characters, and you watch Perez become PEREZ. 

We followed that with the Denny O'Neil/Denys Cowan Question series, a book none of us had ever read. This book, created in the mid-80s, is as relevant today as it ever was. Reading it during the campaign for the American Presidency was, at times, surreal. It's so good. And Denys Cowan kills it! 

Then we did a Roy Thomas deep dive, reading a few dozen issues of All-Star Squadron followed by the first year of Infinity Inc. My takeaway is that Roy Thomas would have been a great curator of golden age comics, providing contextual essays and such, for collected editions, if that had been a viable opportunity at the time. But as a writer, he just drags the narrative to a screeching halt with every word-drenched panel. Not for me. 

And we finished up 2020 with a broad New Gods reading that included Kirby's original run, the Marshall Rogers/Steven Englehart/Steve Gerber continuation of Mister Miracle, the mid-90s New Gods series, begun by Tom Peyer, Rachel Pollack, and Luke Ross, which leads into Byrne's run with the characters (though we didn't read his Jack Kirby's Fourth World, as it wasn't available on the DC app), and ended with Walter Simonson's classic series, Orion. That was a blast, and they were so easy and quick to read that I supplemented my reading with Kirby's Mister Miracle and Forever People series, as well as the New Gods continuation by Gerry Conway and Don Newton, as well as Byrne's Fourth World, which I have in floppies. Needless to say, I got a pretty good education in Kirby's amazing Fourth World mythos. And when you're reading books by Kirby, Byrne, and Simonson, there's a good chance you will be entertained.

And that brings us to the "big idea" that came about somewhere toward the latter part of the year. Gibran thought we should read Crisis, including all the crossovers, and follow that up with Legends and its crossovers, then continue through the major event storylines of the DC Universe (provided they're on the DC app, as that's how we are reading a lot of these books) like Millennium, Invasion, War of the Gods (maybe), and on and on. 

The first podcast (and video on youtube) should be hitting next Wednesday. We discuss the first issue from Wolfman & Perez, talk about some of the background that led to this impactful series, and we also throw in some discussion of All Star-Squadron issues 50-52, Fury of Firestorm 41, Infinity Inc. 18, Detective Comics 555, New Teen Titans v.2 #13, and Green Lantern 194. It was a fun time, and I hope you'll check it out when it hits. Don't worry, I'll let you know exactly when that happens.  



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