Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Speaking of comics that I didn't read the first time around that I'd like to read now

Writing up this week's 'Twas, which includes a few sentences about the DC Comics Presents version of a 1999 Elseworlds story by Howard Chaykin, David Tischman and J.H. Williams III, I was reminded of this other Chaykin/Tischman Elseworlds series I've never read:It was a two-issue, prestige format mini with art by Mike McKone and Jimmy Palmiotti, and the premise was that while the world had superheroes, they kept their existence completely secret from the world at large.

I remember seeing an ad for the issue and being quite curious and intrigued by some of the costume designs (Particularly the Plastic Man one, which you can see at the bottom of the first cover, and Wonder Woman's hairstyle). But I wasn't buying so many comics that I picked up anything that piqued my interest back then, and besides, I wasn't a huge fan of McKone's work (it was and is fine, but he wasn't an artist whose presence alone compelled or compels me to pick up something just because he drew it).

Each issue was about 50 pages, so this would could quite easily be collapsed into an issue of DC's new-ish DC Comics Presents format. Id sure as hell by an $8, 100-page spectacular featuring this.

Oh, and note the Wonder Woman costume as seen on the second cover above.
Oversized, golden wrist bracelet/gauntlets and dark blue tights in lieu of star-spangled panties and boots? It sure prefigured her current costume quite closely.

Another 2000, Justice League Elseworlds series I sat out but now wouldn't mind reading is JLA: Act of God, a three-pat series in which Earth's superheroes all lose their powers:I had the same basic reservations with this one. While it was written by Doug Moench, whose writing I sometimes kind of love even though it's melodramatic to the extreme, he wasn't someone whose Justice League comics I was necessarily curious about. I wasn't familiar with the artist. Elseworlds don't "count" the way a normal JLA story would and, sealing the deal, the plot sounded a little too much like DC's John Byrne-written 1997 crossover Genesis, the dullest of the publisher's many such crossover/event stories.

I'm not sure I'd like it all that much—Can Martian Manhunter lose his powers, since they're his native abilities? Wouldn't that be like a bird losing its super-power of flight? Does Steel's armor count as a superpower?—but just looking at the covers, it is apparently chock-full of the whole DCU of the time, and I'm increasingly desperate to read readable comics about DC superheroes (Also, I really like that second cover, which suggest either a) The Rapture in the DCU or b) All the superheroes just running around naked for some reason).

Unfortunately, it's a whole 50 pages longer than Secret Society of Super Heroes, and thus at 150 pages it's too big for a DC Comics Presents collection. Maybe two 75-page collections, although I don't think DC's continued a single story between more than one DCCP reprint yet.

In 1998 DC published their third round of 80-Page Giants, each of which was a single, novel-length adventure. Those things were awesome, essentially original trade paperbacks without spines and prices more closely resembling that of a single issue than an actual trade. I liked all of the ones I did read, but one I skipped was Batman 80-Page Giant #3, which featured Batman and Robin vs. Calendar Man.This was a story in which the formerly silly Calendar Man gets dark and serious though, including a new costume I didn't like (his original costume is one of the best costumes ever), and I passed on it. The last few years though, I always check back-issue bins for it, because my curiosity regarding a Chuck Dixon serious Calendar Man has eventually defeated my initial revulsion to the idea of a dark Calendar Man.

It features artwork from Dale Eaglesham, Mike Deodato, Bill Sienkiewicz, EDILW favorite Graham Nolan Joe Staton and others. At 80 pages, it's right in the neighborhood of a DCCP volume, although they could always throw in a reprint of a single-issue Calendar Man story to push up to 100-ish.

Finally, I've been reading an awful lot about Superman's politics lately, as well as Wonder Woman's, and saw a reference to this comic,1978's Superman Vs. Wonder Woman by Gerry Conway and Jose Luis Garcia-Lopez . It's an "untold epic of WWII" pitting the two characters in conflict; Superman is fighting to make sure the U.S. develops nuclear weapons before any of their enemies can, while Wonder Woman's fighting to make sure no one ever develops nuclear weapons. GCD says its 76-pages long, so it's in the DCCP ball park. I like reading about Superman, I like reading about Wonder Woman, I like reading about their politics, I like reading about superheroes in World War II and I like few things as much as looking at Garcia-Lopez art, so I'd love to be able to read this story, which I don't believe has been reprinted anywhere yet (do correct me if I'm wrong, though).

4 comments:

Akilles said...

Hey Caleb. What happened to that "Most wanted" article that was here today? I mean, I saw it here. Did I just imagine it? Am I going mad...?

googum said...

I'd like the Secret Society one too; I haven't read that either. Feel like I've read a ton of Elseworlds, but there was a lot of those.

The Batman 80-Page giant, though, is solid. I blogged it up a while back: the different artists are used pretty effectively. Dixon's Batman this time, though, is first too hard on crime, then later pretends he's going to go easier. Weird.

Caleb said...

Akilles,

I...don't know...? I'm not qualified to diagnose madness or not, but I'm pretty sure you're just going mad (or you're thinking of another blog).

Googum,

Thanks for the link to that post...NOW I remember what I didn't like about that costume—it looked a little too much like Anarky's.

Andrei said...

Having read the Secret Society mini all I can say is that the idea is much stronger than the execution.