Tags Matching: The Golden Age

Namor, the Old-Timey Butt Kicker

Have you ever reflected on just how long Namor has been wrecking cities and then doing weirdly kind-hearted stuff that makes us all forgive him? He’s a fully developed character in the respect that his motivations are his own and writers aren’t obligated to make him fit a mold. He does good; he does bad. Just like all real mf’ers. Salute to Namor, the realest dude.

Here’s an expensive appearance by our man. He throws a car at police in this issue. ACAB.

But, he also extinguishes a woman on fire! He’s got layers and facets.

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The Golden Age.

Alternate reality stories are usually a crap shoot. Retro stories about Golden Age characters usually are better reads, but not by much. But this one, I promise you, is a guaranteed win. One of my all time favorites.

As I have mentioned previous, most of the comics I got were hand me downs of sorts from a friends older brother. However, prior to that, when my age was still in the single digits, I did occasionally get some from my parents. For some reason, and I don’t know if this was by my request or their own volition, the comic I would most likely get from my mom or dad would be a DC Who’s Who. I remember 2 issues distinctly: Who’s Who In The DC Universe Update 1987 issues 1 and 3 (for anyone interested, you can get all 5 of the 1987 Who’s Who Updates below. Most Who’s Who issues are cheap as hell, since they’re really only “valuable” to super nerds like myself).

The point of the Updates was to provide, well… updates for new characters, characters with histories changed due to Crisis, and supporting characters who had since been given more attention via their own books or increased visibility in other books. Since this was one of my earliest exposures to the DC Universe, I think it explains my love for such characters as Booster Gold, Blue Beetle, The Suicide Squad… and the All Star Squadron.

Post Crisis, the All Star Squadron was basically a catch all for all the Golden Age era super heroes and mystery men, and rather than be the focus of their own book as they had previous, now served more as a supporting characters in the Young All Stars comic, which was intended to provide Batman, Superman, and Wonder Woman analogues (Crisis had removed the major DC characters from it’s WW2 continuity). But as a 9 year old, I had no clue about any of that. I just knew that:

a. The All Star Squadron had so many members that it took 2 pages to list them all, and a magnifying glass to see them.
b. That all of the members looked incredibly cool (even the Red Bee looks awesome when you’re 9).
c. They fought Nazis. Even at 9, I knew that Nazis = ultimate fictional bad guy.
d. It said one of them DIED. I can’t describe how intense that made them seem to me at 9 years old, when most of my other comics involved He-man beating Skeletor because of Beast Man’s bungling.

So, flash forward 10 years, to a bored 19 year old me looking through the comics at the smoke shop in downtown Salem (they sold comics and tattoo magazines there along with the cigars and porn, I was there often). I saw a beaten up copy of the Golden Age, and instantly fixated upon it. Some deep down memory of that Who’s Who issue made me recognize the plethora of lesser known DC Universe characters posed front and center, even if I couldn’t remember their names immediately. And it was written by James Robinson, whose first two Starman collections were “Morgado is too broke to buy graphic novels from Barnes and Noble so he just reads them there” staples. I was well into my love for the Wild Cards series (and oh how I will be talking about that eventually), so the idea of real life events like HUAC taking place alongside flying supermen was right up my alley. And it was used, so it was cheap enough for me to afford.

I won’t go into details other than to say that even though it’s an Elseworlds, it isn’t so far removed from regular DC continuity that it’s too outrageous to enjoy (and Robinson brought aspects of it into the mainstream universe with his work on Starman and JSA), and it’s got an OUTSTANDING twist. It’s because of this reveal that I won’t go into further detail; I’d hate myself forever if I ruined it, even if I am bursting to share it. But suffice to say, if you’re into real life history, Golden Age characters who had (at the time) been either forgotten or surpassed by their Silver Age versions getting a chance to shine, and a twist straight out of the best pulp WW2 fiction, this is a MUST BUY.

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