the worst writer ever annotations

Max adopts Bart. Isn’t that sweet. Oh yeah, the whole reason Jenni (XS) is in here is she came back to help Wally and the rest of the Flash family beat this Vietnamese speedster named Savitar, that had an army of super-fast ninjas, which meant awesome fight scenes. The arc was called “Dead Heat” and I think I like it more than “Terminal Velocity.” (From Impulse #12, March 1996)

I believe that comic books should be read in a garage, a garage that’s not being used to store automobiles and tools. That stuff bores me. I like to see a garage filled to the brim with tubes of movie posters and boxes of comic books–an archive of a lifetime’s collection. There, in the darkness of night, seated in a bunch of ratty old easy chairs, probably high as larks, you and your friends can get together to simply read comics.
— 

Roger Avary, in the introduction to Starman: Night and Day, the first trade I owned of Starman. 

I was this kid he describes when I started reading this series. Sitting in my basement in Weston, CT, having graduated from Impulse and the Flash to more mature material like this book and Sandman Mystery Theatre, I sat with my friends and played Resident Evil and tried long boarding and grew my hair out to Gavin Rossdale lengths. I made music videos of “Sabotage” and “Greedy Fly” and Jack Knight was the perfect grunge hero for my fifteen year-old repressed suburban pop culture nerd. This was sophomore year of high school.

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Let’s address this adorableness.

There’s enough tension between Carol and Bart to warrant them eventually hooking up, but what makes this young teenage crush work is it has no problem going from friendly ribbing, to crass teen locker-talk, to tender moments, wrapping up in the completely believable hilarity that these two good friends find in the moment we’ve all been expecting. It shows adorable maturity and a certain kind of one-ups-manship in the sense that even though people have been expecting this, including characters in the comic, the two people involved in this conflict think it’s totally ridiculous. (From IMPULSE #20, Oct. 1996)

So I told myself I would pick up where I left off with these annotations during the break, but man am I lazy, and now I forget where I was. I think I was done with Impulse, but what could be next? I was going to get into Starman, but Tony Harris’s comments were too ridiculous and I’d rather not get into that series just as, well, I guess a PR move on my part. But is that a reason to not get into it? No. I suppose the kind of person I was when Starman came out is more relevant than what the series’ artist has to say now. However, do thoughts of the present skew the power of the past? Definitely. At this point, I would be very hard pressed to buy anything with Harris’s name on it, but what Andy had to say on this matter is pretty clear-headed, and it’s clear that Starman is a series very near and dear to both of us. Does that give Harris a pass? No, it doesn’t.

Do his comments stain myself? No. Only how I choose to perceive his work now given his comments stains me, like a turd, and this is generally why I’m thinking about taking a pass on talking about this series because of my clear issue with what he had to say. Though, when I was fifteen this series was pretty important to me. I do believe in accountability and what you say now does reflect on your past work and my enjoyment of it, but I think people generally grow into these kinds of beliefs. Did Harris believe these things when he was working on Starman? I don’t know. In this case, I wonder if that excuses my hypocrisy for a moment and talk about why this series is important to me and my growth as a writer. How I perceive it now affects those past memories, so I suppose that’s why it’s worth talking about and looking back on a piece of work through these less than rose-colored glasses. That’s being accountable, and this is part of the reason why I think I’m going to take a skip and not talk about Starman or Ex Machina, but that’s not exactly being fair considering Harris is part of a pie of both series.

While going through the final issue of the Terminal Velocity arc last night, I fell upon this ad and was blown away by it.

My first response was, “CHRIS CLAREMONT WROTE FOR DC COMICS?!” That’s like Paul Levitz writing for Marvel. No fucking way. Apparently it was the first book set in DC continuity that was creator-owned by Claremont and artist Dwayne Turner. And the copyright at the bottom confirms this, because I’m not one to believe Wikipedia as any kind of reliable information source. This also probably explains why there hasn’t been a trace of these characters since this series. 

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From the ACTION COMICS #13 backup by Sholly Fisch and Brad Walker.

I’d like to take a second and talk about Sholly Fisch and his work on Action Comics. Originally, I felt a requirement  to buy the book immediately because of the last two years of my life. I stuck around not because I really love the idea of my kids being able to have the first sixteen issues of Grant Morrison Action Comics, but because Fisch installs the unforgettable quality to the series, and I would like them to have it.

Yes, you come to the book for Morrison, but you stay for Fisch, and the reason for this is heart. Morrison gets the idea that Superman believes that the impossible is necessary and anyone can overcome anything. That there is always a way and to never give up. He preaches that every issue and it is glorious and I never grow tired of that positivity. Meanwhile, what Fisch does is the other side of the coin—the human side, the mortality that resides in this character; the heart really. The pages above from the backup in Action Comics #13, featuring Krypto’s story, is so right on about a dog that after immediately reading it I thought about my old dogs. Alex and Silver. Silver, like Krypto, is a huskie, and I pretty much had all of the feelings.

In the recent backup with Neil DeGrasse Tyson, Fisch did it again by showing the human side of Superman witnessing the death of where he’s from.

There is something very special happening in Action Comics and that is because of Fisch, and I think the fact that he’s still doing backups is great but more than that I would be willing to sacrifice them if it means he gets a primetime ongoing series because his level of character work is the best in superhero comics right now.   

Jack Knight is a collector, and is a methaphor for the culture of comic book speculators that was running at the time of this comic (1994). He buys old things at bargain prices and revels in the minutiae of those things, which is something we all do as comic book readers. More than anything else, this book got me curious with investigating old things. 

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Okay, confession time: the print edition of this comic was published the day after my mother’s birthday in 1996, right around the time that things were going south with my her side of the family. This issue really got to me because I wished that I could have this kind of relationship with my cousins. So when Bart was–well, he was pretty much rejected, right?–by this cousin I really recognized and felt that moment.

So when he writes a letter and leaves it in a trumpet, it is exactly the kind of thing I love and if given the opportunity I would take any chance I could to get to that emotional moment. This is why I love time travel stories. 

(From IMPULSE #12, March 1996, which you can find on comixology.)

There’s something odd to the full body superhero suit, right? Like the pants are also the top. Like Fireman suits, the Flash family had to put their outfits on from pants to top. Isn’t that weird? Like why is Impulse’s suit from head-to-toe-a lightning bolt with white trim, and Jessie Quick?

I feel like Jay is the only one dressed like a superhero should dress. Pants first, shirt that goes along with the pants but in a totally a different color, asserting its separate style, and a sharp hat to top it all off. He’s like the Don Draper of the Flash family. Tough, smart as hell, and impeccably dressed. I suppose this is why I was disappointed with the current incarnation. Max Mercury also probably fits into this reasoning but he has this whole Zardoz thing going for him, which is ballsy, but awkward.

I’ll get into the classic Jay comics as soon as I get my Golden Age Flash archives back from my friend Abby who is enjoying the hell out of them. Good night, kids.