Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Chompin' the Rod Wednesday!

When All-Star Comics was revived, I had just begun to understand the concept of team books. Up until then, I understood Batman had Robin, Spider-Man had the cast of The Electric Company, and Captain Marvel had an entire "Marvel Family." I discovered through a house ad in my 100 page (for only 60 cents) Batman comics that there was a Justice League to which Batman belonged, although I had yet to read their actual adventures. I also saw an ad for something called the Legion of Super-Heroes that didn't make sense to me at all and failed to catch my six year-old eye.

But when I saw All-Star Comics #60 on the wire carousel at the U-Totem convenience store down the street from my grandmother's house, I decided it was time to expand my horizons. I had seen the house ad for #58, and I was intrigued that there was a grown-up Robin and a hero called Wildcat, so I was somewhat primed to grab the next issue of All-Star I came upon. I swear to you, at that age I was unimpressed by Power Girl and her Power Cleavage.

So, I was introduced to the Justice Society a couple of issues after their re-introduction, back in circulation almost a quarter of a century since the legendary comic in which they starred had been cancelled. Clearly, I had some catching up to do. There was a different Flash? Why was Green Lantern blonde and wearing a cape? To someone who had cut their teeth on the Silver Age reboots, the JSA were the pretenders to the throne.

But I kinda liked these guys, and was happy to see them popping up once a year in Justice League of America. The success the team has had since then with JSA (a consistently better book than the JLA counterpart) and the currently-running Justice Society of America warms my heart and keeps me shelling out lucre so I can keep up with the tale of a team that remains cutting-edge, although despite having been around for almost 70 years.

You caught me. I loves me some Justice Society, although the revival of All-Star Comics in the early 1970's left a lot to be desired. I blame a fair portion of that on the addition of the Star-Spangled Kid, a character who was obsolete at the end of World War II:

From All-Star Comics #58. Read the sound effects again.

Why is there a chomping noise being made there? And even more important, why is the chomping noise coming from the vicinity where the Kid's head is meeting the bad guy's groin?

Don't fight anyone who was around to fight in World War II. They apparently fight dirty.

But the Kid gave us one thing: Fun with Out of Context Dialogue!(tm!):

From All-Star Comics #59. That dialogue was so good, I could get away with leaving the artwork in. That's gold, baby!

Besides Power Girl's amazing ability to squeeze her figure into spandex, she also had a rarely-used talent for speaking in captions.

When I was a child, I would have argued with you to the death that someone was speaking off-panel. I didn't realize the odd mistake until I re-read All-Star #60 the other day.

The Star-Spangled Kid was given Starman's cosmic rod so that he wouldn't appear as useless as he really was. This didn't make him any more interesting, but it did give us some good "rod" jokes, like this dandy exchange of ideas from All-Star #61:

Women. They always want to limit your rod usage. Zing!

For reasons I don't understand, the modern reboot of the Kid (Stargirl of the JSA) never bothered me. I thank Geoff Johns for that, because she could have been the Sue Storm of the JSA.

See you tomorrow!


Sea_of_Green said...

GREAT post. Funny, I felt pretty much the same way when I first saw the JSA as a kid ("Why is Superman old, and why is GL a blond guy with a cape?") However, I liked Power Girl very much, as well as the Huntress. At the time, Power Girl hadn't yet become a wink-wink-nudge-nudge sex joke among MOST readers.

Mike Reeves-McMillan said...

I really enjoy Geoff Johns' Star Girl, even with the "my stepfather is the old Star Spangled Kid's sidekick who has somehow come forward through time" bit.

And fortunately, they have made the power rod less... obvious.

Tony Z™ said...

Awesome post. Can never get enough Fun with Out of Context Dialogue!(tm!)

That crotch chomp is too funny! Now I want to redesign my blog around that. LOL!

Well, not really.


SallyP said...

Starman's rod is ALWAYS funny.

Allergy said...

It sure is, but getting stuck... with the rod... when the "crack" snaps shut? That's comedy gold, baby!