Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Discuss: Characters You Like, But Know Next-to-Nothing About

Doug: Take Adam Strange here for example. What's not to like? Cool costume, outer space adventures, hangs with the Justice League of America... But beyond that, I got nuthin'. And that's today's topic, as you saw in this post's title. Name characters -- any characters -- that for whatever reason you think are cool-looking, want to know more about, etc. But at this point, you'd fail any quiz.


Humanbelly said...

Animal Man and Captain Atom spring immediately to mind. I even have several old issues of each character. . . which I don't think I've ever read.

But the BIG one for me would be the *gulp* Legion of Superheroes! I don't think I could pick the majority of them out of a line-up. . . ! How can I call myself a self-respecting Bronze-Ager-???


Martinex1 said...

Red Tornado. I think he's an android. Is he Justice League's Vision? I like how he looks. I know very little. May have read a silver age book at one time but have no recollection. Like the name and costume.

Martinex1 said...

HB. Believe it or not I am with you on the Legion. Never owned a single issue and I don't recall them on any spinner rack growing up. Honestly until some of the reviews here I only vaguely knew of them. I'm not a huge DC follower so they were just never on my radar.

Anonymous said...

For me this would apply to most DC characters. When I was a kid I saw no DC comics on sale and there was no 'DC UK' unlike Marvel. I only knew Batman and Wonder Woman from the TV shows and so Batman was basically a joke figure almost like a spoof of a super-hero. I knew nothing about Superman till I saw the films and the first time I heard of Green Lantern was on an episode of Seinfeld. As for characters like Martian Manhunter and Booster Gold - they are still a mystery :)

dbutler16 said...

Great question, though for some reason, not too many names are popping into my head.
However, I'll mention two - the Phantom Stranger and Kamandi. The Phantom Stranger has a cool, suave look, and there's a bit of mystery about him that I find appealing. Kamandi doesn't have a cool look, but it would porbably be fun to pick up the Kirby issues.
I'll also agree with Humanbelly's choices of Animal Man and Captain Atom. I'm already a huge Legion fan, so I can't choose that one.

Edo Bosnar said...

One that sort of falls into this category for me is Captain Comet. I know a little about him, mainly from his appearances in Secret Society of Super-villains and a guest shot in DC Comics Presents. But apparently there was a whole bunch of solo stories featuring him in the '50s, so he has this whole history I know nothing about.

Another one is Nexus. I remember back in the '80s the character was a really popular among comic fans, but I never got any of those comics, and to this day I know next to nothing about him.

Anonymous said...

How about Havok? He was Scott Summer's brother, yet in my time of reading X-Men he was never very prominent. But his costume was unique and the way he projected whatever his power was was drawn cool. Like he was blastin'you with big bubbles.


Humanbelly said...

Edo's mention of Nexus turned my memory towards a lot of the plucky, highly-visible indie books that populated the racks of my LCS (the long gone and much-missed Geppi's Comic World in Silver Spring, MD) in the mid/late 80's. Cerebus the Aardvark was probably the one that kept tempting me. . . but I never picked it up. Nooooooot sure if it would be my cup of tea, from what I've read/heard of its wildly-loopy creator. But man, that book had a RABID legion of fans at the time.

The Badger was also one I tended to consider (pretty good covers, IIRC), but couldn't tell you the first thing about him.

And actually-- Forever People & New Gods! I don't have any of either, and don't think I've ever read them-- although I'm well-stocked w/ the original runs of Kamandi & OMAC (Y'know. . . OMAC was not really a great comic, to be honest. I've always been mystified by the resurgence of interest in it in recent years. It had the feel of a book being churned out as quick as possible to meet the deadline. . . )

Hmmm-- Combat Kelly, anyone? Or Capt. Savage & his Leatherneck Raiders??


Anonymous said...

Agree with Colin about DC - although the comics were a bit more available round my way, my knowledge of DC was patchier than Marvel as a kid. In particular, the whole Earth 2 thing was something of a mystery to me, and I recall being fascinated by that two part JLA/JSA crossover, the one with Uncle Sam, Phantom Lady and the Earth X storyline.

By the time I was more aware of how that all related to history (to the "golden age" characters etc)and the rise of comic shops made DCs easier to find, the eejits got rid of all that stuff in the Crisis. So I find myself in the odd position of including Superman and Batman - the earth two versions - in my list of characters I'd like to have knowm more about.

Btw, Cerebus is brilliant one of my favourite comics, although its fair to say some later issues can be...er... problematic. If you're interested HB, start with High Society - or maybe the first book - and see how you go. Mind you, I absolutely love Kirby's OMAC - thankfully one of the DCs I could find - so.....


Anonymous said...

I forgot to actually answer the question earlier so I'd like to know more about Swamp Thing and see how similar or different he is to Man-Thing.

Dr. Oyola said...

Red Tornado! Yes.

So cool looking and I like the idea that. .. uh. . . doesn't he have a cyclone trapped in his body or something? See, I don't know.

Mr. Miracle is another one.

Until recently I would have said Brother Voodoo, but I corrected that and am working on a post for my own blog on him.

Edo Bosnar said...

HB, good call on the Badger. That's another character who seems interesting and about whom I know nothing. On the other hand, I've never been interested in Cerebus, then or now.

By the way, I tend to agree with your assessment of Kirby's Omac, although I think the concept is awesome. The character was, I think, put to good use by other writers later.

William Preston said...

I bought off the spinner rack some of the earliest issues of Mister Miracle, but because I hadn't read (and didn't later read) any of Kirby's other Fourth World books, I always felt like I didn't understand the character's context--or, as I always felt with Babylon 5, like there was a "reel" missing from every episode. It somewhat haunted me in my comic book years, that I found the comic so interesting yet so baffling, like somewhat might feel having caught only one or two episodes of The Prisoner.

Anonymous said...

Colin, good call on Swamp Thing vs. Man-Thing. Which one is Ted Sallis? Which one has a human intellect...or is it neither one...or both?

All I know for sure is "whoever knows fear...burns at the Man-Thing's touch (or is it "whomever"?)!"


Humanbelly said...

Oo-- Colin, the Swamp Thing/Man-Thing match-up is a particular instance where I freely abandon my Zuvembie status. Even pre-Moore the DC version always worked better for me 'cause it/he was a SENTIENT CHARACTER. Man-thing-- geeze, I tried so hard, so many times to get into his book-- but could never get past the convention of the "central" character being little more than a catalyst for the story and events around him. Swamp Thing, although dark, stayed quite brilliant and engrossing for several years even after Moore's departure-- but ultimately succumbed to being overly self-referential and (ugh) somewhat pornographic in the events depicted. For awhile, though, it was the only DC book I subscribed to. High recommendation.

William-- y'know, I think Babylon 5 felt that way (I agree) 'cause there WAS an initial movie or pilot or something that no one really ever saw-- and yet it was regularly referenced and had a bearing on ongoing events and relationships (particularly in the first season). Ha-- but THE PRISONER? Man, that whole SERIES was wrapped in an aura of "What the heck have I missed?"-- I daresay that was a very conscious choice to keep us all in the same frame of mind as ol' Number 7--!

(*Tangent Alert* *Tangent Alert*-- someone get HB away from the wheel. . . )


J.A. Morris said...

I don't know if he "counts" since he was a licensed character, but I know very little about Conan. I've picked up 'Red Nails' and couple other issues here and there. I planned to get the recent Dark Horse tpbs that contain the Roy Thomas/Barry Windsor-Smith stories, but the re-coloring turned me off.

Doug said...

Speaking of the recoloring, J.A., I meant to mention this in the Aquaman post over the weekend and I forgot (seriously, these days if I don't do something when I think of it it doesn't get done). Does it strike anyone else that DCs recent Batman and Superman movies have a tonal quality to them akin to the new coloring processes where there don't seem to be any brights -- just muted shades of brown and gray?


Karen said...

Most of my picks are DC characters. I want to read Hercules Unbound. Was it set in an apocalyptic future?

I'd also like to know more about Adam Strange and Captain Comet. Also, the Challengers of the Unknown - everyone cites that book as so seminal to the creation of the Fantastic Four, I feel I need to at least have a basic understanding of it.

Oh, and Doom Patrol- the original!

Redartz said...

HB- Most of Kirby's 4th world is a mystery to me as well. I've only read of them in guest appearances, and only know Mr. Miracle via the Giffen Justice League stories.

Another cool mystery is the Spectre; love his looks but really know little about him...Like some of you, my DC knowledge trails my Marvel noticeably!

Humanbelly said...

Yeah, it's like a color version of film noir-- that's almost certainly got to be the desired effect, don't ya think? What would we call it-- the "Watchmen-ization" of superhero films? Which seems like a questionable direction to go, given how well that film was NOT received. . .


PS-- Yep, Karen, Hercules Unbound was set in the Kamandi-verse, although it didn't have the same feel to it, really. It was strange having both DC & Marvel giving us simultaneous versions of Hercules at that time. Marvel-Herc was, I believe, front man for the Champions then.

Anonymous said...

Brother Voodoo! Good call - loved the original Strange Tales appearance. I gather Marvel have revived the character a couple of times, but... guess I'm a bit dubious they have writers capable of handling the Haitian background well. Will check future posts at the middle spaces, but in the meantime would appreciate if Dr. Oyola - or anyone else - could recommend anything...

Just occurred to me, what about characters that appeared in the old anthology/try out books - you know, Marvel Premiere, DC First Issue Special etc - that weren't heard from again?

I thought Monark Starstalker deserved more than a one-off (as long as Chaykin was doing it)


Martinex1 said...

Sean, Monark Starstalker did have some potential. He appeared much later in I believe a newer Nova series.

In those Marvel Premiere books there were also characters like 3D Man that I would like to have seen more of. Also Caleb Hammer who was a return to western characters.

Speaking of western characters, I know almost nothing of Rawhide Kid, Two Gun Kid, western Ghost Rider etc., other than what I read in their appearances in Avengers or Ghost Rider (motorcycle version). Those western titles were very prevalent in the 60s and early 70s, but I know next to nothing.

Dr. Oyola said...

3D Man who was later made into a legacy character and renamed Triathalon and then returned to 3D-Man - appeared in Busiek's Avengers run and then (more to my liking) in the last volume of Agents of Atlas, which sadly was quickly cancelled. :/

Sean, as for Bro Voodoo - I don't have much to suggest - I am mostly interested in his Bronze Age appearances - he was later changed to "Doctor Voodoo" and killed by Bendis, but then revived and may be going by his original name - but like I said I am not much interested.

I did notice in my exploration of the character that as soon as he started appearing in other books, he started to become kind of a butt of inappropriate jokes - there is a scene in one his appearances in Werewolk By Night where his magic is referred to as "hand jive" and man I cringed!

Dr. Oyola said...

Two-Gun Kid makes a cool re-appearance in Dan Slott's She-Hulk run - one of my favorites.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Dr Oyola - yeah, I got the impression from some stuff I read online that bringing back Brother Voodoo was "ironic", a bit of a joke, not unlike bringing back Fin Fang Foom. Mind you, its been a while since I've read the old stuff. Mainly I recall excellent artwork by Gene Colan in Strange Tales, so I might go back to that, see if it holds up at all (wishful thinking, maybe?) And check out your post when it appears, of course.

On the subject of westerns - DC were always better at that kind of thing than Marvel. I enjoyed anthologies like Weird Western Tales on occasion... mainly El Diablo, beautifully drawn by the mighty Alfredo Alcala.
For a really good western read though, you really need the French - mid-70s Blueberry is fantastic.


Anonymous said...

I know pretty much the majority of characters from the 80s Who's Who (DC) and Marvel Universe Handbook (and subsequent handbooks from the last 10 years or so)and the info therein.....but anything that happened since I'm probably not so aware of (esp. if it happened in the mid 90s!)


Anonymous said...

Grimjack...the premise sounds interesting, but I've never actually read any of the comics.

Mike W.

Humanbelly said...

This has been a very solid thread. Kind of a got-each-others'-backs scenario as far as helpful suggestions go, regarding further collecting (or at least sampling).


PS- tsk-- correction: Prisoner was #6, not #7! (I've gotta turn in my retro-television-geek credentials, I fear. . . )

Anonymous said...

Mister Miracle! Read some of his comics years ago, loved the Kirby art but aside from having a dwarf sidekick and an Amazonian Wonder Woman-type wife named Big Barda, I could never tell you anything about his backstory.

DC's the Creeper was also a visually striking character, although again if you asked me anything about his origin, I would draw a blank.

- Mike 'Ultron who?' from Trinidad & Tobago.

Unknown said...

You know this is an interesting subject. In the last few years I've started getting back into learning about the history of comics, from the Golden Age to the Bronze Age. I started collecting the Masterworks of the Fantastic Four, my main comic obsession, mainly so I can finally read the issues that are missing in my own collection, and so I don't have to constantly take the ones I have out of bags.

I also use the internet a lot for research into the titles and characters I'm not so familiar with, one of the reasons I watch this blog. So if I come across a character I find interesting yet unfamiliar, I start researching that character. My most recent efforts involved a couple of Gold Key original series comics I had owned as a kid, and that I had gotten rid of, much to my current regret, mostly because they weren't Marvel. Thanks to the wonders of the Internet, I now know that I had at one time owned Nos.14 & 15 of The Occult Files of Doctor Spektor. No.14 was particularly interesting because Spektor encountered a superhero that been not been seen for years and was under the current control of mystical beings. Turns out that hero was Doctor Solar, who had his own series back in the 1960s. Doctor Solar certainly fits the criteria as one of those interesting looking characters (green skin, great costume) that at the time I knew nothing about. There is a wealth of information out there, enough so that I would love to read those comics. Apparently there are a collected works of those issues out there, whether I can find them is another problem.

One of the more interesting things about the Gold Key comics was that those comics involving their original characters always had painted covers rather than the more traditional pen and ink covers. Alex Ross was certainly not the first.

I'm with Karen on Challengers of the Unknown. I've only come across them once, on another blog that was discussing them in a more modern DC comic. I think my next research project should involve them!

William said...

This question is tough for me, because if I like a character, I make it my business to find out about them. Especially in this internet age, there's no reason not to.

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