Saturday, June 1, 2013
but one thing that hasn’t changed is my fascination with the comic
books that hit the newsstands in my birth month of December 1951.
This time around, we have True Secrets #15, an Atlas romance title
cover-dated March 1952. As with many other comics from this era,
I don’t have much information to share with you.
True Secrets began with issue #3, continuing the numbering from Our
Love. From March 1950 to September 1956, Atlas (Marvel) published
38 issues of the book. There was an hiatus between issue #3 [March
1950] and #4 [February 1951].
Al Hartley drew and signed the cover of issue #15. Unfortunately,
the cover scans at both Atlas Tales and the Grand Comics Database
are too blurry for me to make out the titles of any story save for
What was the true story behind the girl the whole town called “Boy
Crazy!” I haven’t a clue, nor do I know who wrote and drew any of
the stories in this issue. From the Who’s Who of American Comic
Books 1928-1999, I can tell you Hank Chapman did some writing for
the title circa 1951/1952 and that several artists, Nina Albright,
Ann Brewster and Jay Scott Pike among them, drew some stories for
it. As always, if anyone has more information on this issue, I’d
love to hear and share it with my readers.
Keep watching this bloggy thing for more vintage comic-book covers
from my birth month.
Comics will be the main focus of this bloggy thing going forward:
commentary, convention reports, personal reminiscences and reviews.
Rawhide Kid Wednesdays will return on June 5 and run each and every
Wednesday thereafter...except, of course, when I’m traveling or if
my paying work dictates otherwise.
I’m adding several bonus mini-features which will be posted right
here as often as possible. Some of these will be on comics, some
will be on my other interests. Some have already made their debuts
during the past week. These will post in addition to my nigh-daily
Your comments on my bloggy things and features are always welcome.
However, the nature of online morons being what it is, please note
that no comments will be posted until I approve them. This bloggy
thing is like unto my home. I strive to be a good host, but that
doesn’t include allowing trolls to disrupt the party with churlish
and inane rants. I have nothing to prove to these creeps and their
feeble attempts to injure my feelings or vilify my accomplishments
and life are amusing to me. Oh, you anonymous cowards, you really
shouldn’t pick fights with your betters...and, from what I’ve seen,
your betters are just about everyone.
As per the above paragraph, I intend to continue to rock my inner
grumpy old man. I’ve earned that.
Karen Berger is arguably the most influential comics editor of the
past couple decades. She built the Vertigo imprint into a line of
graphic novels and collections that invited mainstream readers into
our world of comics. She championed some of the finest talents in
comics and nurtured countless new talents. Her departure from DC
Comics...excuse me...DC Entertainment is a blow the company simply
isn’t intelligent enough to recognize.
Speculation abounds that Berger will launch her own comics company
or be snapped up by a mainstream publisher wanting to increase its
share of the graphic novel market. When I think of comics people
who could successfully create a new company, Berger’s name is just
about the only one on my list.
My dream speculation has Berger teaming up with Paul Levitz for a
new comics publishing venture. Levitz’s golden parachute can only
keep him afloat in the DC skies for so long. I like to think he’s
smart enough to realize that and also to realize his DC successors
hold no true loyalty for him. Despite our many disagreements, I’m
still of the opinion my old friend is one of the smartest people in
comics. A Berger/Levitz union would be formidable.
The departure of writer and DC “chief creative officer” Geoff Johns
from Green Lantern prompted me to catch up on three of the four GL
titles. The friend who loans me his comic books and lets me keep
them for years bailed on Red Lanterns early on and that was likely
a good call. Moving on...
Green Lantern is far and away the best of the GL titles. I liked
the first six issues and, despite my preference for one GL instead
of thousands of them, issues #7-20 were good and occasionally great
comic books. Green Lantern Corps and Green Lantern New Guardians
were almost unreadably bad. The other two titles picked up a bit
during the “The Wrath of the First Lantern” crossover, but remained
largely uninteresting and unnecessary to the overall story. As all
the GL titles are getting new creative teams with the next issues,
and assuming my friend keeps buying them, I’ll give them at least
a few issues to win me over.
Green Lantern has fared well during Johns’ ten years on the title.
He built the concept into a family of titles and his continuities
survived the switch to “The New 52" universe. He restored/revived
Hal Jordan and made him a viable character in spite of the terrible
events in his past. He made Sinestro an often frightening mix of
hero and villain and, in the doing of that, made him one of the few
great characters in “The New 52.” Apparently, he even shared your
blogger’s intense dislike of the Guardians because he really gave
them what for. Johns built a layered and complicated Green Lantern
universe, which suffered only because the other writers were unable
to compete on that level.
Despite that, I felt uncomfortable reading page after page of Johns
associates praising his ten-year run in Green Lantern #20 [$7.99].
Johns may not have known about this, though it seems unlikely given
his position as chief creative officer. The tributes may have been
honest and well-intentioned. But they came off as not quite right.
Staying on a title for ten years and doing it as well as Johns did
is a considerable achievement. However, the tributes, especially
given DC’s massive creative failures and the mistreatment of other
creators on his watch, struck me as inappropriate and insensitive.
Where have been the like tributes for all those other creators who
labored long and hard on DC comics before being cast aside or, in
too many cases, cheated by the company?
My personal experience with Johns has been reading and enjoying his
writing for many years and a few friendly e-mails here and there.
If we ever met in a manner where his position with a company that
I despise was ignored, I think we would hit it off. But it remains
difficult for me to think of DC Comics and its legion of executives
without thinking of the company’s lost history of injustice toward
creators and readers alike. Truth be told, it’s become difficult
for me to think about almost any major publisher without thinking
of like injustices.
When I review DC comic books, I judge them on their own merits or
lack thereof and without considering the “source” as it were. If
there ever comes a time when I can’t do that, I’ll stop reviewing
the company’s comic books.
On that basis, though I give a giant “fail” to Green Lantern Corps
and Green Lantern New Guardians while Green Lantern has been
a solidly entertaining and well-done title. Congratulations to Johns
and to artist Doug Mahnke for their excellent work on the title. They’ll
I’ll be back tomorrow with more stuff.
© 2013 Tony Isabella