Friday, June 09, 2006

My favorite panel in years

We're still experiencing some mission drift here at TDwTG (we haven't even looked in the Last Shortbox for a while). Apparently, this is not a unique situation: bloggers much more resolute than I (Devon, The Fortress Keeper, Dave Campbell, and even Mike Sterling) have been on hiatus or going emo (in Mike's words) over the past few weeks. Maybe it's a bug going around. A blog-bug.

Anyway, part of the issue around here is that all this blog-reading has actually gotten me to buy some comics again, confusing me about what I want to discuss. I have been picking up 52 to try to catch up on the DC Universe (and will have some comments on that later), but since I have been hitting the stores again, I have been looking at other stuff as well. This led to a purchase today that included my favorite comics panel in years. I picked up a copy of the 2001 Bizarro Comics TPB, a collection of short superhero spoofs framed by a Myxyptlk - Bizarro team-up story (which has a guest appearance by the JLA). The eighth story begins with this:

Man, this just takes me back.

First of all, it starts with an old-school expository caption box. Expository caption boxes rock.

And this caption box describes a recreation annex adjoining a lab complex. How cool is that? I mean, if you had a huge laboratory complex, wouldn't you add a rec room? Isn't that essentially how Microsoft designed their campus?

And look at the decor - the open-source stairs, the pod-chair, and the built-in album shelf in the couch. I think I had that standing lamp in my first apartment.

Of course, the Metal Men are relaxing in this groovy setting, every goofy, neurotic one of them, along with Doc Magnus himself (in his ever-present checked sport coat). Some of my favorite characters, despite - or because of - their improbable psycho-sexual backgrounds.

Writer Bob Fingerman makes great use of that aspect of the group's continuity in this seven-page story, sending Tin off on a quest for a girlfriend and the rest of the crew out to keep an eye on him. The ensuing hijinks (at what can only be called a discotheque) are full of good humor and really bad fashions. As a bonus, Pat McEown's art put me in the mind of the best of Walt Simonson.

I don't want to turn into one of those whiny, everything-was-better-then guys; I know a lot of stuff from the Silver and Bronze days was pretty dumb and I couldn't read it now without wincing. On the other hand, I was glancing through one of the Seven Soldiers of Victory TPBs in the store today and came across some guy named the Spider impaled to a wall with three arrows. I know everyone is saying that this series is good stuff, but I have to tell you, a little bit of that goes a long way for me, and it's not what I usually go to superhero comics for.

What those older stories did have, along with their silly plots, was optimism, elan, some belief in the Good, and most of all, a sense of fun. And I'll take fun in my comic books any day.


RAB said...

Now this is strange -- I pulled this out and reread this story just last night. And them boom, here you are talking about it. This is the kind of thing that makes me question the barriers between my mind and reality.

As someone else who loves that Bizarro Comics TPB -- not a day goes by I don't wish I could write something as good as some of the stories in that, just once -- I also really, really love Seven Soldiers and I think you mightfind it has more to do with the good in old comics than you'd suppose.

Walaka said...

Wow - maybe there's a rip in the spaxce-time continuum or something.

I knew the 7SV reference was a dicey one, since I haven't actually read the series; perhaps I should have used Black Adam from 52, whose violent acts I have found over the top (and repetitious, to boot). But then, I don't know his whole backstory, either. Which, I guess, leads into the accessibilty question...

Man, I sound like an old fogey.

Anyway, I will probably try out the series soon.

And while I didn't say it specifically, the Bizarro Comics TPB is indeed great, looked on as a whole.