January 9th, 2012
With forestcats out taking a quilting course, I kicked around the house, yesterday. I did some laundry, I wandered the Internet for a bit, I finished reading a book. I also put on a Netflix disc: Captain America: The First Avenger. Not too bad, though it played fast and loose with the history of WWII. I also dabbled with streaming. I tried Wild Target, but I didn't care for it, and stopped it not too far into the film. Later, once my wife returned, I played us all the way through the episodes of Stephen Fry in America which was a nice, low-key trip through the States, with some terrific photography, and amusing situations.
And now for the week's work.
>>..a Netflix disc: Captain America: The First Avenger. Not too bad, though it played fast and loose with the history of WWII.
Yeah, but it played even faster and looser with the history of Captain America, which is the greater sin here.
Apparently the Marvel movies are based on their Ultimates line, which doesn't explain why they felt that they had to tweak their main line (Earth-616, if memory serves) comic book heroes to be more like their live-action portrayals in the movies: yeah, yeah, I know, they were hoping to drum up new readers, but in all likelihood all they did was just shake a few bucks out of a couple of dozen curious moviegoers who never read the comics before; but that's another rant.
When I used to read superhero comic books, I exculusively read DC, so I have no idea of the history of any of the Marvel ones from the movies of the last several years. Therefore, I walk in with no expectations of what I'm about to see. I make no statement of whether this is good or bad, it just is.
I'm often struck by how the putative "cool kids" gravitated towards Marvel in the '60s and '70s, whereas, since Crisis on Infinite Earths (at least; and never mind that the status quo established by CoIE was gradually reversed, then rendered moot by DC's rebooting of their entire line...), the pendulum seems to have swung the opposite way -- with occasional exceptions for obnoxious sidebars like the Marvel Zombies series, frustratingly short-lived good comics like Agents of Atlas (a team comprised of characters from Marvel's predecessor, Atlas Comics, from the 1950s) and The Incredible Hercules, etc., etc.
AFAICT, the internet has enabled even "cheesy DC" titles from the '60s to be rehabilitated into "coolness"; Marvel's Silver and Bronze Age output, by contrast, seems to have gotten beaten up in a backlash. Or maybe I'm somehow drawn -- or steered -- towards all the "Johnny DC"-type blogs and message boards. *Shrug*
My favorites, in descending order, were The Flash, The Legions of Superheroes, and Green Lantern. Not Superman or Batman. But that was just me.
I've been able to read a lot of collected DC comics thanks to my local inter-library network: I'm most fond of the Golden Age versions of the Flash (Jay Garrick) and Green Lantern (Alan Scott), but, after checking out the first DC Archive edition of the Golden Age Flash, I've come to realize that I most likely am only a fan of their retconned characters (say, from Roy Thomas's All-Star Squadron on up), not their actual 1940s characters. (Never did quite cotton to Golden Age comics, except for Jack Cole's Plastic Man; I'm on the fence about Will Eisner, but based on how much I liked Jerry Ordway's take on Captain Marvel et al in The Power of Shazam!, I really should try to read the Archive Editions of some of the original Fawcett Marvel Family titles.)
Can't say I was impressed with John Broome's writing on the early Hal Jordan GL stories (at least those collected in Vol 1 of his Archive Edition...); I'm on the fence about Gardner Fox's writing. (I was amused to see that Mike Friedrich had a turn at writing GL before he jumped ship to write Iron Man for Marvel in the early '70s.)
Legion of Superheroes intimidates the heck out of me; so freakin' much continuity, even before all of the company-wide cross-overs/reboots. (And Jim Shooter, Marvel's notorious editor-in-chief from the late '70s to late '80s, made his first pro sale to LoS when he was only 13?!) Where do you suggest that an utter Legion newbie start? (Well, I did read James Robinson's entire run on Starman, and some of the Legionnaires guest-starred in the "Stars My Destination" arc, if memory serves; plus there were those two issues of Action Comics in the '80s that John Byrne wrote and drew where Big Blue met a version of the Legion with a much younger, much more powerful version of himself; Byrne depowered Krypto at the end of that story, but that's since been undone as well....)
The era I was reading these would have been from about 1963 - 1967 inclusive, and stopped rather precipitously at the latter date. There were no comic book shops in my locale once we moved in '67, while when I was living in Wisconsin, I could walk to a shop that sold comics, along with other things.
As to where to start, I have no idea. I've rarely gone back to superhero comics since then. Most of the comic titles I read are ones that would never have been written back in my youth. So I may have a soft spot for those titles I mentioned, but I spend no time or money on them.