Sunday, March 04, 2007

The last floppy? (and cartoon tales)

I was in my LCS the other day, buying a copy of the Huntress: Dark Knight Daughter trade paperback as a birthday present for my former wife. Way back when, more than 25 years ago, she used to love to read the Huntress back-ups that ran in Wonder Woman starting with #271, pictured below. It was really the only super-hero comic that she ever followed regularly; I don't know why she got a kick out of that particular character or series, but she did, and I hope the book brings back fond memories.

My wife got to read the Huntress stories because I was buying Wonder Woman regularly. There was a bit of a re-launch about this time, and the big costume re-design was about a year or so off, so I guess it was about as exciting as Wonder Woman ever got back in those dark days.

Coincidentally, when I picked up the trade, I also got a copy of Wonder Woman #4, the last issue of the truncated Heinberg-Dodson-Dodson Who is Wonder Woman? saga that is the latest attempt to revitalize the star-spangled franchise. I had been a believer in this comic from the get-go; the art was beautiful, the white-jumpsuited Agent Prince business was cool nostalgia, the Wonder Woman "tryouts" hooked me: I felt it was the most interesting version of the title in twenty years.

Then the delays, which have been documented minutely elsewhere, started. Then DC announced that the five-issue arc wouldn't even be completed. And then came issue 4, which was a disappointment in and of itself.

Aside from Circe's dragon-motif Wonder Woman outfit, this episode was just blah. A bunch of JSA-types stand around and give exposition, Nemesis just goes poof and drops out of the storyline, there's rehashing of the Hercules story, a little decent action, and some double-crossing, all of which lead up to two spectacularly unimpressive two-page spreads. Meh.

Maybe someday the trade will come out; I might even buy it if the lost issue manages to redeem the package. But I believe this disappointment was the final nail in the floppy coffin: it's all graphic books for me from here on in.


Yesterday I varied my morning schedule a bit: I skipped listening to Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me! on NPR so I could watch the Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon on the local CW station. A lot of people had been talking about, so I figured I should give it a look. Other than wondering why everyone had such funky eyes, I thought it was okay; not great, not terribly ground-breaking, but okay. The episode I saw had Bouncing Boy, Triplicate Girl, Colossal Boy (in his Cockrum uniform instead of his cool space cowboy outfit), and Ferro Lad in addition to the Big Three and Superboyman, so that part was pretty sweet. But what's up with Brainiac 5? He's like a little robot Garth Logan.

In an ironic twist of fate, I also watched a DVD that night that contained, among other cartoons, two Fleischer Studio Superman stories from the forties: Underground World and Electric Earthquake. I just have to say that no finer superhero cartoons have ever been made, before or since.

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