Thursday, September 20, 2012


By now, you know the drill.  Love Romances #21, cover-dated March
1952, reached newsstands in my birth month of December 1951.  Which
is why I’m leading off with it as I have done with so many vintage
comic-book covers from that eons-distant month. 

The Al Hartley cover is from the 7-page “Love on the Rebound” and
I think we can all figure out what that story is about.  However,
I don’t know who wrote or drew it and I don’t know anything at all
about the other three comics stories in the issue except for their
titles, their page lengths and that someone attributed the pencils
on “I Take This Man...” (6 pages) to Bernie Krigstein.  That won’t
stop me from making stuff up.

“No Turning Back” (6 pages) is the story of two lonely people who
meet on a treacherous road where only one of their cars can pass at
a time.  The problem’s not safe for either of them to back
up or down the road.  While they try to figure out what to do, they
fall in love.  Sadly, distracted by their growing ardor, they fail
to avoid the landslide that sweeps their cars and them off the road
and to their deaths.  Love hurts.

“When Kisses Grow Cold...” (4 pages) is typical of those pre-Comics
Code stories at a time when horror was making a big impact on the
industry.  Two lovers, one dead, and a morgue.  You can figure out
what happens next.

“I Take This Man...” sounds like a wedding story, but it’s actually
a historical romance about a beautiful-but-cruel slave owner who
unexpectedly falls in love with her latest purchase.  She sets him
free, knowing that if he truly loves her as well, he’ll come back
to her.  He doesn’t.  Because he’s not an idiot and she’s still a
cruel slave-owner.

I should write and publish a new version of this issue someday.  I
can see “Love on the Rebound” in a basketball setting. 

More vintage comic-book covers to come.


Getting reading for my garage sale has me in a comic-book reading
mode.  Here are notes on some of the comics I most recently read:

Avengers Vs. X-Men has become exceedingly tiresome, but, every now
and then, something good emerges from the contrived and overblown
drama of the series.  Case in point: Avengers Vs. X-Men #9 (of what
seems like 100).  Five writers are credited with the story: Jason
Aaron, Brian Michael Bendis, Ed Brubaker, Matt Fraction, Jonathan
Hickman.  Aaron is credited with the script.  Comics creators, editors
and executives who desperately want to be Hollywood players are
responsible for this new comics group-think that plagues the industry.

But I come not to bitch, well, not much, but to praise this issue
of the series.  It comes down to Spider-Man battling two Phoenix-
juiced mutants: Colossus and Magik.  At a publisher that seems to
have some trouble accepting the essential courage and optimism of
the super-hero, this issue is a shining testimony to Spider-Man and
heroism at their best.  Even if you haven’t been reading Avengers
Vs. X-Men
, I recommend you read this issue.

Speaking of Spider-Man...

Remember how much I loathed the first two issues of the brand-new
Captain Marvel? That’s how much I enjoyed Avenging Spider-Man #9
and #10 which teamed up Carol Danvers and the wondrous wall-crawler
in a story by Kelly Sue DeConnick with way spiffy art by Terry and
Rachel Dodson. 

The sad news is that Carol Danvers isn’t suited for solo stardom.
The happy news is that, teamed with a likeable partner like Spidey,
she comes off much better.  This is a Carol Danvers I like and it’s
surprising that this Carol and the unpleasant one in her own title
are written by the same writer.

Maybe this is what Marvel should do.  Put Captain Marvel on a team
with mostly likeable characters.  They can be a little annoying and
maybe a little rash, but essentially likeable.  She could be the big
sister on such a team.  I think she could even shine in that role.
Worth considering.

More on Spider-Man...

Peter Parker, Spider-Man #156.1 is a done-in-one story by the great
Roger Stern with art by Roberto De La Torre.  The tale takes Peter
back to the one place to which he never wanted to return.  It has
the feel of Stern’s past efforts without being the least bit dated.
It’s the Spider-Man of 2012, but written by a guy who knows exactly
who Spider-Man is and how he rolls.  Every time Stern turns up on
a Marvel title, I end up slapping my forehead in consternation that
he’s not the regular writer on any Marvel title.  I’m gonna blame
this on Hollywood as well.

One final Spider-Man note for today...

In past bloggy things, I’ve expressed that I like Peter working as
a scientist after too many years of being J. Jonah Jameson’s bitch.
But, even as I’ve had my fill of JJJ and then some, I’m becoming a
lot less thrilled with this whole super-scientist bit for the hero
who’s supposed to be one of us.

I mean, we were told that Spider-Man couldn’t stay married to Mary
Jane because it wasn’t realistic, that he wasn’t one of us any more
because of it.  Okay, yes, it was a load of dung, but that’s what
Marvel tried to sell us and, for a time, I was willing to accept it
and move on.  But how is being super-scientist guy any more fitting
for Peter than his marriage to Mary Jane?

The only answer’s not.  Indeed, I would make the case that
it’s more outrageous than the marriage which Marvel decided it must
undo.  The current Peter Parker isn’t the Peter Parker that Marvel
wanted to restore.  He’s not a bad character, but he’s far removed
from the core Spider-Man.

This is why I continue to believe that the best thing for both the
Marvel and DC universes would to blow them both to atoms.  End them
completely. Then figure out who these classic characters are sans
the egomania of remaking them to fit your whims and then relaunch
them into this brave new world of 2012 without any prior back story
other than what is introduced in the relaunch. 

It’s been fifty years of Spider-Man and more for other characters.
Time for a combination of classic and fresh. 

I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.

© 2012 Tony Isabella

1 comment:

  1. I really can't agree with your conviction that the Marvel & DC Universes need to be thrown out and started fresh. My reason is pretty simple: Marvel's done just that twice, albeit in alternate continuities, with "Heroes Reborn" and the "Ultimate" titles... And in both cases, modern writers doing "modern takes" on beloved characters have trashed them.

    What's needed isn't a reboot of the universe, it's writers and artists who understand and respect the cores of the characters, and depict them as the courageous men and women we fell in love with. Do this, and the heritage of those comics at their best is worth saving. Don't, and a "new universe" is just going to devolved into ugliness and nihilism.